Apple has announced that they’ve renewed contracts with four major record companies to sell individual songs through iTunes for 99 cents each. Some of these record companies had publicly complained about the $.99 pricing scheme. The record companies felt that certain songs, especially new and currently popular songs, should be priced higher, at $1.49 or $1.99. Steve Jobs has been adamant that all songs should remain at $.99. Of course, it is possible to get songs for more and less than $.99, if you purchase a complete music album.

The iTunes Music Store has an 80% market-share of digital music downloads. The record companies currently need Apple and the iTunes Store. However, the labels are aggressively searching for other ways to sell music – through subscription services such as Napster, and particularly via cell phones (more people have cell phones than iPods.)

Apple has created a whole new market for legal music downloads. They continue to have the most viable and most successful digital music store model. Which is good for my ears, good for my ever-hungry iPod, and acceptable for my wallet.

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