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Price of Music

By Op-Ed Editor | December 8, 2005

Interesting piece in Slate.com, asking why music downloads should all be 99 cents.

Suggests there could be a download market like the stock market. A tune in high demand would see its price rise. Price of tunes few wanted would go way down.

Why? Well, it lets demand set the price, is the economics-theory part. (Consider live music: you pay hundreds of dollars to see a superstar band in an arena, but get the local group in an intimate bar setting for the price of a drink. ) But more, demand-priced downloads might encourage diversity in music. If obscure, low-demand music were cheap, there’d be more incentive to seek it out.

Given digital media’s growing love of monopolies — one dominant operating system, one dominant search-engine, one dominant iTunes, two digital tv systems, two sat-radio systems — anything that suppports diversity sounds good.

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