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Rumor: iTunes album pricing may change

Single-song purchases may be credited toward albums

It's one of the perennial problems of the digital-music era. You buy a couple of songs from an album at 99 cents each and, after listening to them a few times, you think you might want the album.

Apple Computer

Trouble is, you've either got to buy the other nine tracks individually or pay the full $9.99 for the album. Either way, you don't get any credit for the songs you've bought.

A source tells us that Apple Computer and the record labels are onto this. Supposedly, iTunes customers may soon be able to buy the album and get credit for any single tracks they have bought.

Gartner analyst Mike McGuire said that, if true, such a move does remove an unneccessary barrier. "In the interest of more consumer-friendly transactions, that makes some sense," McGuire said. "In the end that's dependent on whether I see value in those other eight songs."

Apple has already been showing more flexibility when it comes to album pricing. The company has started selling some classic rock albums for $7.99, $2 less than its typical pricing. There are even a few albums, such as Bon Jovi's eponymous release, for $5.99.

An Apple representative declined to comment.