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iTunes Store Variable Pricing to Begin April 7th?

The Los Angeles Times reports that implementation of variable pricing in the iTunes Store will occur on April 7th.

The world's largest music store, Apple's iTunes, plans to boost the price of many hit singles and selected classic tracks to $1.29 on April 7, breaking the psychological barrier of 99 cents in what could be the first big test of how much consumers are willing to pay to download individual songs.

Although the date for higher prices has not been publicly announced, Apple has been notifying record labels it will go into effect on that date, industry executives said.

The LA Times also discusses how music labels will set pricing for individual songs, basing the decision primarily on artists' popularity.

True to supply-and-demand economics, the price of music downloads will be geared to the artist's popularity. Releases from new artists would receive the lower pricing, while tracks from popular acts would get slapped with the higher rate. Even classics, such as Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA," could retail for the higher price. Most of the 10 million songs in the iTunes catalog are expected to remain at 99 cents.

Apple announced at Macworld 2009 that the iTunes Store would shift to variable pricing in April with price points at $0.69, $0.99, and $1.29. Despite increased prices for certain individual tracks, Apple has claimed that most album prices will remain at $9.99.