At Tuesday's debut of variable pricing on the iTunes Store, many people were left looking for the promised US$0.69 songs, those that would be cheaper than the previous $0.99 price. While $0.99 songs were abundant, and many had increased to $1.29, the $0.69 songs - supposedly back catalog or less popular songs - were few and far between.
An interesting thing to note about the songs is that they don't seem to be quite as unpopular as you might expect. The Rock collection features perennial favorites such as London Calling by the Clash and Blue Suede Shoes by Elvis. A check of the albums that these songs are from reveals them to be the only tracks priced at $0.69, which leads me to think that they're less back catalog prices and more promotional prices. After all, if they were back catalog prices, why wouldn't all tracks on the album those songs are from (or at least more songs) be $0.69? The same pricing disparity is also in effect for the R&B collection.
No doubt the process of adding variable pricing to the iTunes Store is complex and will take some time. Here's hoping that the $0.69 price point doesn't become just a tease that a few songs carry in order to give the appearance of off-setting the price increase on more popular songs. If it is, despite the addition of iTunes Plus, this will be a loss for consumers - especially in this economy.