Morning Reading

I'm channeling Ron Burgandy this morning -- I want to shout it from a mountaintop, but I don't have a mountaintop, I have a blog. The top story in Scott Jagow's world is: North Carolina trounces Michigan State. Other stuff that caught my eye...

Economy Falling Years Behind Full Speed (New York Times)
"As the recession grinds on, more and more of the nation's means of production -- its workers, its factories, its retail outlets, its freight lines, its bank lending, even its new inventions -- are being mothballed."

Lights At The End Of The Economy Tunnel (Clusterstock)
"There are indeed some signs that the worst might be over for the economy. Which is why the violent rally in the stock market isn't obviously a sucker's rally."

In Defense of Derivatives (WSJ)
"From the perspective of Main Street companies, derivatives are not just about high finance, quants and politics, but about investing in America's core industries, jobs and economic recovery. Companies find that over-the-counter derivatives are essential to their day-to-day operations."

U.S. loses almost $1 trillion in first half of fiscal year (24/7 Wall Street)
"According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. government lost $953 billion in the first half of its fiscal year, which ended in March. If trouble with the economy deepens, that number may get much bigger than the Administration or CBO forecast."

How Competition Saved New York (NYT Economix Blog)
"Only two of the nation's 10 largest cities have more people today than they have in 1950: New York and Los Angeles. The growth of Los Angeles is no puzzle. The city practically defines sun and sprawl, which are two of the biggest correlates of population growth in the postwar era. The puzzle is New York City, which -- alone among the country's older, colder cities -- has managed to grow."

Art prices fall 35% as collectors cash in (Financial Times)
"The decline accelerated as people who lost money in the financial crisis, including victims of the Madoff fraud, put up works for sale, often at a loss, several art world insiders said."

Now Available At iTunes: Price Hikes For Music (Media Memo)
"Apple has finally rolled out the "flexible pricing" plan it announced earlier this year at its music store. If you're a casual music consumer, and that phrase doesn't mean anything to you, let me rephrase it: Many of your favorite songs will now cost 30% more at iTunes."

Log in to post2 Comments

Nobody is mentioning that there's no a 69-cent tier that a lot of older popular music will be available more cheaply.

The aspect of the story that caught my eye is that websites can now apparently make money on 69-cent transactions. I'm hoping that a system of micro-charges for Web use will make better content available at more affordable prices in the future.

There are a lot of news articles I'd be happy to pay 69 cents for, but don't want to pay $2.50 for, for example.

Re: iTunes

I'm hoping that this modification in prices will wake people up so they understand that $0.99 for a song is not necessarily a good deal.

Many of us use (legal) alternative music sources:

Pandora is a free service offering radio stations based upon your preferences.

Amazon.com is one I frequently recommend: they offer $0.99 a song, without any restrictions on the music: they're in an MP3 format able to be played on virtually all modern music players and not just iPods. (I realize Apple is lowering restrictions on DRM).

I personally use the Zune Store (don't chuckle too much, please). While they're prices are/were comparable to the iTunes Music store, I have a pass which, for a flat rate of $14.99 a month, I listen to any song I want in their store. And I also get to keep ten of those songs forever. So you aren't "just" renting songs. Listen to whatever you want, and pick 10 each month to keep. Buy more if you want. If you're only buying songs you specifically have in mind, this isn't a good option. But for those of us who really enjoy listening to a wide range of music, this is a great option, even if you don't own a Zune.

I'm always a fan of more options for consumers. Maybe by these changes in the iTunes Music store customers can see more options for often less money, at the expense of being cool.

Keep up the good posts, Scott.

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