Buckle up, folks—the end is nigh. No, I’m not talking about the imminent financial collapse of Western society as we know it—though that, too, would be bad. I’m referring, of course, to the fact that tiered pricing is coming to the iTunes Store in the next few weeks. And with it, apparently, the downfall of civilization.
“This will be a PR nightmare,” predicted former EMI Music executive Ted Cohen, who is managing partner of digital media consulting firm TAG Strategic. “It is for the music industry what the AIG bonuses are for the insurance industry.”
Okay, Ted—if that’s your real name—I dig that AIG’s the go-to scapegoat these days, and that’s cool, but really? Really? I admit, I find the idea of tiered pricing annoying, but mainly because I’ve grown used to the one-price-fits-all approach of iTunes. I’m not seriously concerned that $1.29 is going to break my bank, even in these cash-strapped times, especially with the corresponding 69 cent price point.
According to the Times, tiered pricing is scheduled to go into effect on April 7th—that’s a little later than the April 1st that Phil Schiller put forth at last January’s Macworld Expo keynote, but maybe it was all an April Fool’s joke. The transition to DRM-free tracks is also supposed to be complete by the end of the quarter, which is just over the horizon—a quick check of the iTunes Store shows some stragglers remaining.