As lesser online music competitors flop around like beached fish at the feet of the mighty iTunes, a competitor with the assets and expertise necessary to really compete with Apple is finally gearing up to try. Following on Amazon’s investment in NY music start-up Amie Street yesterday, the Post reports that the e-commerce giant is exploring variable song pricing, something that Apple has always refused to do. This is presumably music to the ears of the major labels, who have longed to hit you up for, say, $2.95 for the latest hot single, while giving you all the “B sides” you don’t want for $0.25 apiece.* They can do this on sites other than iTunes, but, so far, there haven’t really been sites other than iTunes.
Variable pricing might also be a boon for consumers–99-cents a song is simple and convenient, but it’s also an outrageously high price for many songs–and so will some real competition for iTunes. So here’s hoping Amazon’s long-awaited (and far too late) entry into the digital business doesn’t bomb.