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Apple’s iTunes store is now iTunes Plus. The new pricing structure is in place and every track has been upgraded to AAC DRM-free 256kbps. Here endeth the good news.

All the most popular tracks now cost 99p and any others worth having are 79p. The rest of the catalogue costs 59p – but you’d be hard pressed to find them and will probably need therapy if you listen to them. Basically, it looks like a thinly disguised price hike. You can also upgrade any 128kbps DRM-ridden tracks to the Plus standard for 20p per track, with further reductions on albums you have already bought – how very generous. Capitalism lives.

Alternatively, you could go to Amazon or Napster where, for example, a popular track chosen at random, My Life Would Suck Without You by Kelly Clarkson, costs 59p (Amazon) or 33p (Napster) rather than 99p (iTunes). Even a more obscure track like Juliet by the Four Pennies costs 79p (i) but only 33p (N). However, on the schizo Amazon site, it depends which album the track is on so you can pay 69p or 79p.

In what the press is hailing as an attack on iTunes, Amazon is also offering some top tracks for only 29p. Why compete when you’re beating them hands down on price already? Oh, I see, it undercuts Napster, too. So that’s where the battle lies.