So while I stand behind my earlier statement that it's a step in the right direction and certainly something that'll ruffle the feathers of EMI's major brethren, the more I think about the price hike, the more my mouth tastes like batteries. So I'd like to back off my original excitement just a smidge.
Sure, the files are of a higher quality, but Steve Jobs might wake up one day soon and realize what a Pyrrhic victory it's been to sacrifice the universal $.99 pricetag in order to set this DRM-less ball rolling. The majors have long demanded variable pricing for their wares on the iTMS and Jobs has, until now, heroically resisted. Even if the extra $.30/song eventually brings the rest of the majors into the ring, it's going to cause more than a few of the last remaining music buyers to heed the heretofore unheeded siren's call of the pirate bay's waters, depths from which few sailors ever fully return. These songs should ALWAYS have been DRM-free. And they probably always should have been 256kbps, too. Why should the cost of the RIAA's missed opportunities be passed on down to the consumers?
Why can't the majors, just once do something right without insulting its customers in the process? Can you imagine how many people would be rushing to give their money to EMI if they had made this announcement with a price DECREASE?
I'm reminded of that most torturous brand of word problem from 8th grade algebra class where you have a quadratic function and one axis is price and the other is profits and well...something tells me the curve doesn't peak at $1.29. But hey, it has been a while since I took algebra. This might be a job for indexed.