Apple today is introducing a new offering at its iTunes store. Called “Complete My Album,” the new service allows you to purchase the remaining songs of an album at a discount if you’ve already purchased singles from that album. So, for example, if you have already bought two songs for 99 cents, you could buy the rest of the album for $8.01.
Will you go back to buying music the old way? Will this help boost sales of albums? Probably not much, but it’s still a great option, anything that provides us with more flexibility in our music purchases is a good thing.
Before now, if you wanted to buy a full album after having already bought a couple singles off it, you had two options (neither of which were great): You could buy the entire album (including the songs you already bought) for $9.99 or you could buy each track separately for 99 cents each. Since most albums have 12+ songs, either of these options has you paying more than you would have paid had you bought the album in the first place.
Here’s what Apple’s VP for iTunes, Eddy Cue, said in an interview, “The idea here is that simple — once you bought singles from an album, we’ll give you credit for it… This is something that is another example of how digital music is a changer in the way we do things.”
Cue also mentioned that around 55% of music bought through iTunes is sold as singles. That number has been fairly constant over the past four years. Apple apparently had to negotiated new agreements with its partners in the recording industry to make the new “Complete My Album” service work. But it’s obvious this is in the best interested of music executives who are likely still nervous after last week’s report that music sales are down 20% from the same period last year.
The only catch to this whole setup: the “Complete My Album” option is only good for 180 days after you buy the individual songs from an album.
*Update* tuaw.com has an interesting take on the new feature, saying cheaper songs doesn’t change the fact that you didn’t want them in the first place!