iTunes complete my album feature

I’ve just received an email from Apple about the new feature of the iTunes Music Store. If you’ve bought one or two tracks from a particular album you can now purchase the remaining tracks from the album. Up until now you either had to buy each remaining track individually, or stump up for the whole album. Which option you chose depended on the number of tracks and the album price. The more tracks, the more likely it was you’d end up paying again for the ones you already have through buying the whole album outright.

Now there is a “Complete my album” link on the ITMS homepage which takes you to a page displaying your incomplete albums, along with the price for the remainder of the tracks. Interestingly the page indicates that this is a limited time offer, and under each of mine it specifies the expiry as 26th June 2007.

Taking a particular example, I already own With or Without You from U2’s Joshua Tree, for which I paid the usual 79p. The regular price of the album, which contains 11 tracks, is £7.90 which if you bought it whole works out at 71.8p per track. The offer price to complete the album is £7.11 meaning they’ve simply removed the 79p cost of the track I already have, giving me the full benefit I’d have got if I bought the whole album originally.

To take another example, I own three tracks from Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, a ten track album again for £7.90. The completion price is £5.53, again simply taking off the cost of the tracks I’ve already bought.

Therefore, this offer appears to be better value when the album has more tracks, removing the existing hindrance should you wish to upgrade to a full album, something I’ve found myself doing a few times.

Hopefully, this is the first move towards discounting on ITMS. One issue I have with online music sales is that we do not see the type of discounting of music that we are used to with CDs in stores. You can’t walk into HMV or Virgin these days without there being a sale or offer on, which is more often than not used as a mechanism for clearing out old stock, both by the retailer and the publisher/distributor.

On another note, it is nice to see that the Elton John back-catalogue is now up. I’ve been after a good digital version of Tiny Dancer for ages and in the end resorted to getting it on CD. I think I’ll have to have a look through some of his old albums for some other choice tracks now.

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