It's Easy to Sell a Million CDs
...and so very difficult to sell one thousand. Grant Robertson's on fire over at the Digital Music Weblog, and he's totally right about the pricing of online downloads. Fifteen years ago, if you had to get your hands on a rare/obscure/import disc, you had to pay more. When I moved back to Ithaca, New York after six months in London in 1992, I think I hauled a whole suitcase of vinyl back for various friends and colleagues. Simple supply and demand.
99 cents is a completely acceptable price point for most consumers. Pricing any lower than that threatens to devalue an artist's music, and pricing higher than that makes folks feel like they're being ripped off.