We are happy to announce the launch of our new price modification feature. This new feature allows our artists and labels to request a price modification for their content that is already live in iTunes (AmazonMP3 and Google Play coming soon!). We’ve been wanting to add this feature for some time, however there were a few technical hurdles to overcome. Primarily, it requires our system’s catalog to be in constant sync with our catalog in iTunes which involves our system programmatically communicating throughout the day with iTunes’ system. Further complicating the matter is the plethora of rules that governs the pricing of content in the iTunes store and having to build out the logic in a consistent and user friendly manner that allows a user to modify the price with a few clicks of a button. Needless to say, we are glad to have finally launched the feature and hope that our artists and labels find it useful for their marketing efforts.
Please Note: Based on over a decade of experience in selling digital music around the world, it is the opinion of our content specialists at Catapult that the standard default pricing that 99% of the content in iTunes adheres to ($0.99 per track) is the best possible price tier to choose for the average artist’s content and thus price modifications should be used sparingly if at all.
As with anything, there are a few rules regarding prices in the iTunes Music Store that one needs to be aware of when requesting a price modification. But first, its important to define two separate definitions; Wholesale Price vs. Retail Price.
The Wholesale Price is the price that iTunes pays when a given Album, Single, or Track sells in their music store.
The Retail Price is the price that the customer pays iTunes when they purchase a given Album, Single, or Track in the iTunes Music Store.
1) You can only request a price modification for a given an item once every 3 months, so be very careful when requesting a price modification.
2) A user can request Wholesale Price changes, but ultimately the Retail Price is solely determined by iTunes. That being said, our system will display the “Estimated” Retail Price that the content will sell for when a specific Wholesale Price is selected based on our historical data and experience. 99% of the time, the estimated Retail Price will be accurate, but since iTunes has sole discretion on determining the retail price, it is in fact an “Estimate”.
3) Price modifications can normally take 7 days to take effect in iTunes so plan accordingly if this is important to you.
4) The price tiers displayed in the Price Modification Pop Up in your Dashboard are the only tiers available for your content as determined by iTunes. They do not allow custom prices.
How to Request a Price Modification in iTunes:
When you click on the Modify Price button on your Album’s or Single’s page in your Dashboard at Catapult, a pop-up will appear showing you all of the price options for your item. These price options are solely determined by iTunes based on the number of tracks as well as a few other factors. iTunes does not allow custom pricing, so the price tiers displayed in the Modify Price pop-up are the only options you can select for your respective content.
The Price Modification Pop Up
You have the option of selecting the Wholesale Price* tier for either the Album as a whole or for each individual track on the Album. Remember, the Wholesale Price is the price that iTunes will pay when your content sells in their store and the Retail Price is the price that the customer pays iTunes when they purchase your content.
You can also set a Start Date for the price modification to take effect as well as an End Date. Only Album level prices will take effect on the Start Date that you provide and will revert back to the previous Album price tier on the End Date that you provide. It’s very important to note that the Start Date and End Date only apply to price modifications at the Album level and will not effect the Track price in any way. Track prices take effect as soon as possible and have no bearing on the Start Date or End Date.
* iTunes will not sell a full album for more than the price of the sum of its tracks so you will need to choose your wholesale tier accordingly (if applicable).