updated 01:55 pm EST, Tue January 6, 2009
iTunes at MW09
In concluding its Macworld 2009 keynote, Apple has confirmed a switch to a variable pricing model for iTunes music, where previously the company charged a flat 99 cents per track. Beginning in April the company will offer three tiers of pricing: 69 cents, 99 cents and finally $1.29, with a greater proportion of tracks falling under the bottom tier than the top; all tracks aged less than six years should remain at 99 cents. The scheme is said to be attributable to flexibility demands from record companies.
It has likewise resulted in a substantial expansion of iTunes Plus, which as of today is offering over 8 million songs DRM-free, through the addition of tracks from all major labels including Universal and Sony BMG. The song count should expand to 10 million by the end of the first quarter of 2009.
Apple finally notes that the iPhone's Wi-Fi Music Store is now simply named the iTunes Music Store, as it supports downloading over both Wi-Fi and cellular connections. Content and pricing should remain identical to the desktop store.