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Rumor: iTunes Store could get flexible album pricing

Certainly one of the drawbacks to buying music on the iTS is the single vs. album purchase: sure you can buy a song or two from an album, or maybe the hot pre-release single, but what happens if you want the rest of the album later, or when it's completely released? This has been a catch with traditional music distribution methds as well - you can either buy that $3-5 CD single release, or pony up the ridiculous price of $15-20 (and more) for the entire album. I've been hoping someone would devise a digital solution to this conundrum since I bought my first album off the store the day it launched, and Ina Fried CNET has a rumor stating that a solution could see the light of day soon. The idea is that if you've bought a track or two from an album, you can receive credit for those purchased tracks in the form of a lower total album price, should you decide you want the entire thing at a later date.

If this is true, I would hope it could debut as early as January's Macworld '07 event. Ina's right - they're leaving a ton of money on the table without something like this in place, and they have the opportunity of solving an age-old conundrum in offering an appealing and fundamental advantage over the traditional brick-and-mortar method of buying music.

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