Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Beatles on iTunes: the Price is Wrong

Something for you to think about . . .

The Beatles' 'red' and 'blue' compilations have recently been reissued as 2-CD remasters. They're selling for £9.99 in stores (if you can find a store) and £7.99 on Amazon. But as album packages, they cost £17.99 EACH from iTunes. For that price, you can buy a special presentation set of both releases from Amazon.

It's the same story with the individual albums: £9.99 for physical CDs, £7.99 on Amazon, and £10.99 as downloads.

I'm not surprised about the 'red' and 'blue' sets, as they've been the focus of corporate greed ever since they first appeared on CD, at something like £30 for each (very short) 2-CD package. Last year, they were generously reduced to £23.99 each. And then the remastered editions arrive, in super-improved quality, at less than half the price. Very strange.

But this whole pricing conundrum raises the question of why anyone is buying (for example) Sgt. Pepper direct from iTunes, when they could buy the CD for three pounds less, burn it onto their computer, transfer it to their iPod, and then still have the CD to keep or give to a friend. I'm not criticising iTunes, whose take from download sales is (I am reliably informed) only around 4% of the retail price. But it does make you think about the madness of the music business (2010 model) and the power of the Beatles' name.

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