Until this year it's been $0.99 for all tracks at iTunes. However, at Macworld, Apple announced tiered pricing was coming soon. And now another option has been announced: the iTunes Pass.
According to the iTunes Store description page
Get an iTunes Pass from a hand-picked selection of your favorite artists. iTunes Passes can include songs, albums, music videos, and more. They may also include content that is exclusive to iTunes Pass.
Everything is in iTunes Plus format, meaning no DRM and 256kbps AAC encoding. The way it works is you sign up for a pass, and you get a sort of temporary subscription. Everything released between when you buy and the "end" of the pass will be delivered to your account.
Right now, though, you can only get one Pass: the Depeche Mode Sounds of the Universe iTunes Pass
, for $18.99. The pass expires on June 16, 2009.
Strangely, no Apple press release, but there's an EMI press release
. In it, Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Internet Services said:
"iTunes Pass is a great way for artists to give exclusive music and video, on their own schedule, directly to their fans. iTunes customers are going to love getting additional content directly from their favorite artists right when they make it available."
This should prove interesting. Music labels have been trying to get Apple to expand its pricing on the iTunes Store for some time, and they got a major win when tiered pricing was announced. Obviously, they will expand it to other labels and artists going forward.
While this isn't really a subscription, it's a step in that direction.