ITunes price change: sales down, revenue up

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Last week's price changes at iTunes had a measurable effect on the store's top 100 sellers.

In aggregate, the 33 songs that were raised from 99 cents to $1.29 starting April 7 sold 12.5% fewer units last week than they sold in the previous week at the lower price, according to Billboard analysis. The 67 songs that remained at 99 cents sold 9.9% more units compared with the previous week.

Despite the price increase, total track sales were up 3% compared with the previous week. Sales of the Billboard Top 200 digital tracks rose 1.3%, and sales of the top 100 tracks rose slightly less than 1%.

The songs that comprised the iTunes Top 100 chart on April 7 sold 0.5% fewer units, or 4.6 million. Although fewer units of those 100 songs were sold, their total revenue increased during the first week of the price change. The drop in sales was not large enough to offset the extra 30 cents received.

Other stores have raised prices as well: Amazon.com and Wal-Mart last week increased some prices on popular songs but not to the extent of the iTunes changes.

There has been hope that higher track prices will encourage consumers to buy the entire album instead. There is no clear picture about whether that happened during the first week after the price change.

Glenn Peoples is a contributor to Billboard.
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