An examination of the current Top 100 tracks at iTunes shows the hip hop tracks on the chart were most likely to be raised to $1.29.
Ten out of 20 hip hop tracks were raised to $1.29 from $0.99 when iTunes raised prices on some individual songs early this morning.
In contrast, only 29% (six of 21) country songs were raised to $1.29 and 25% (two of eight) rock songs were given the higher price. One out of seven (13%) alternative tracks was given the higher price. As for the other genres, 10 of 18 (36%) pop songs, zero of six (0%) soundtrack songs and three of eight (38%) of R&B songs were raised to $1.29.
Labels appear to be giving the higher price tag to some of the most popular tracks. This is seen by comparing a genre’s average rank on the chart with the chance a genre’s songs will have the higher $1.29 price. The average rank on the top 100 of hip hop tracks is 45.9. Country songs have an average rank of 61.7, the lowest of the eight genres represented on the chart. But that correlation does not hold for R&B. It has the highest average rank (44.9) while only three of eight songs songs now cost $1.29.
Even so, the hip hop/rap has a relatively high share of the more popular songs on iTunes Top 100 list. The genre accounts for three of the top ten songs (two of those cost $1.29), six of the top 20 (three of those cost $1.29) and ten of the top 40 (only four of those cost $1.29). R&B accounts for only two of the top ten and has no songs between No. 11 and No. 20.
In theory, the most popular tracks will be able to bear the higher price without experiencing a harmful decline in sales. If the most popular tracks also have the least sensitivity to price, then labels’ pricing strategy may be successful.
(Note: There was only one comedy track on the chart, Lonely Islands’ “Incredibad,” and it now carries a $1.29 price tag. Since it is the only track from the genre, it was not included in this analysis.)