Competition is a wonderful thing

As I said when AmazonMP3 launched a few weeks ago, “the iTunes Store needs all the competition it can get.

Well, score “1” for the marketplace: The Wall Street Journal is reporting, “Apple is reducing the price of all songs on its iTunes Store without anti-copying software to 99 cents from $1.29, bringing Apple’s prices on such tracks closer to those offered by Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other rivals in online music.”

As I said in my original post, “I’ll still use iTunes (the desktop software) and I believe there are certain free things on the iTunes Store — iTunes U, for example — that are modern marvels. But there’s no magic — and a lot of potential agony — in purchasing music via the iTunes Store.”

Personal observation: The AmazonMP3 service is, if you’re a regular user (guilty), a “frictionless” experience and fully integrates with iTunes (the desktop software). I haven’t figured out their pricing policy (I’m an impulsive, opportunistic music customer), but they have a variable pricing strategy and many times “hits” are discounted below the 99¢ price point — typically, 89¢. Such “variable pricing” has, historically, been an issue for Jobs & Co. (according to reports) but the iTunes Store has been slowly showing some flexibility there, as well. Today’s announcement indicates that, while may not hit Jobs’ radar, does.

Also, yesterday’s re-launch of The Hype Machine (with a wonderful new design by my friend, Taylor McKnight), integrates AmazonMP3 and eMusic purchase options, along with iTunes. As the Hype Machine and services like it are how more and more people are being introduced to new music, being at the “click” end of that introduction and showing side-by-side prices with a 30¢ difference is, well, as I said, competition is a wonderful thing.