For albums, the (low) price is right
Are the days of deep-discounting new music releases coming back?
It wasn't that long ago that music fans could count on low, low prices - sometimes as low as $6.99 - for hot new albums, as retailers tried to use them as ways to draw customers into stores to buy other things. Before that, you could find new cassette singles discounted as much as 85 percent - down to 39 cents, in many cases - so superstars could make big splashes on the charts with big initial sales.
As part of the music industry's ongoing collapse, those sale prices have gone the way of, well, sales. This year's trend, in fact, has been to try to get fans to pay more, with some hoping that they could raise album sales by curbing the availability of singles.
But maybe that's about to change. Last week, Snow Patrol's new album, "A Hundred Million Suns," became Amazon .com's Daily Deal, a deep-discount designation usually reserved for older catalog albums, making the British rockers' latest release available for $3.99. The move worked, pushing the album into Amazon's Top 10, which, like the iTunes Top 10, tends to influence new sales, as casual visitors check out the top sellers.
Given the country's current economic state, offering music fans legal bargains - instead of pushing them toward illegal downloading by raising prices - could be the industry's way to help boost sales.