Indie Music

ITunes 69¢ Songs Section Offers Latest Opportunity For Labels To Game The Charts

image from www.hypebot.comLast month we learned that artists like Drake, Kayne West and Frank Ocean were releasing albums with 18 tracks or more to game the Billboard charts by taking advantage of rules that calculate album sales equivalents from digital streams. Now comes word of a new and yet very familiar way to manipulate all of the charts.


Most hit tracks sell for $1.29 on iTunes, but not all.  An increasing number of new singles are being priced at just 69 cents; and that lower pricing is helping them chart higher on iTunes. 

Label promotions strategies shifted to pricing 2 months ago when Apple added a "Great 69¢ Songs" section to iTunes about halfway down the store's front page. 

69 cent songs

The combination of lower price and being featured on the iTunes Music front page is driving a significant sales and chart bump, particularly in country and other genres beyond pop and hip hop, according to multiple sources.

Billboard sights the example of Shawn Mendes' “Treat You Better”:

sean mendes"The song went made available for purchase on sale June 3, debuting on the Hot 100 at No. 34 before falling back to No. 63 the following week. After several weeks spent slowly ascending the charts, eventually reaching No. 14. In what seemed to be an attempt to crack the Hot 100 top 10, "Treat You Better" was ultimately submitted and accepted into "Great 69¢ Songs" (where it stayed for three weeks), posting a 66 percent increase in sales in its first week at a discounted price, driving it to No. 12, and eventually No. 8."

Of course using price to move music is not a new strategy, labels have been doing it for decades.  But the cost of this kind of promotion – 69 cents vs. $1.29 or 53% off – dratically effects bottom line profits for labels and artists.


MORE: How Frank Ocean, Drake, Kayne West, DJ Khaled, Others Are Using A Loophole To Game The Charts

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