Apple debuts new iTunes Store ‘Complete My Album’ service (advertising masquerading as a feature)

Apple today announced Complete My Album, a new iTunes service that allows customers to turn their individual tracks into a complete album at a reduced price by giving them a full 99 cent credit for every track they have previously purchased from that album.

“Music fans can now round out their music collections by upgrading their singles into complete albums with just one click, and get full credit for those songs they have previously purchased from iTunes,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes, in the press release. “Complete My Album is a wonderful new way that iTunes helps customers grow and enjoy their music collections.”

“iTunes continues to revolutionize the digital music industry by offering music fans innovative ways to explore and enjoy new music,” said Thomas Hesse, president, Global Digital Business and US Sales, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, in the press release. “With Complete My Album, iTunes is giving music fans the best of both worlds—the ability to discover great new music by buying just the single and a credit toward the purchase of the complete album.”

Complete My Album offers customers up to 180 days after first purchasing individual songs from any qualifying album to purchase the rest of that album at a reduced price. When users buy any song on iTunes the corresponding album will immediately appear on their personalized Complete My Album page with the reduced price listed. For example, a user who’s already purchased three 99 cent singles and decides to buy the corresponding $9.99 album would be able to download the remaining songs to complete the album for just $7.02, without having to buy the singles again.

The iTunes Store features the world’s largest catalog with over four million songs, 350 television shows and over 400 movies. The iTunes Store has sold over two billion songs, 50 million TV shows and over 1.3 million movies, making it the world’s most popular online music, TV and movie store.

More info at Apple’s iTunes Store here.
This is an attempt to keep the outmoded album concept around for a little while longer. It is highly-targeted marketing; just try it and see. All of your iTunes Store-purchased songs that don’t have the rest of the album in your library (ie. the stuff you didn’t want or like the first time around) are gathered together for you and you’re presented with ads to buy the rest of the albums. Our guess as to why they (the music labels and/or Apple) put the 180-day limit on this is simply another marketing tactic: time-limited offers create additional motivation for you to buy now. This is advertising masquerading as a feature.

Related article:
Apple plans iTunes credit for purchased singles if customers later buy album – March 26, 2007
WSJ: Music sales take sharp plunge – March 21, 2007

52 Comments

  1. tehy should use a similar concept for video, by offering a rental for like 2.99 and then deducting the price if you buy the movie within 18o days.
    Come on Apple! that will be a reason for me, an investor in AAPL to buy Apple TV.

  2. wonder if the record companys have anything to do with this ?

    I mean, consider that they obviously arent keen on the fact that you can purchase your music by the individual song.. and now they want to push entire albums off on you …

    A good idea, maybe, if the particular album contains all good songs… but how often does that happen … anymore ? . ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”LOL” style=”border:0;” />

  3. For a “limited time” the new concept is retroactive to all prior purchases. Mine shows 414 albums that can be completed. The reality is less than that because they repeat albums if you’ve purchased singles at different times.

  4. Well the idea is that if you get to know an album, within 180 days you’d know if you want the rest or not. The limit is there also to help you make up your mind soon, and it makes them money.

  5. 180 days sucks, effectively making this a marketing gimmick. Let me complete my albums for songs I purchased three or four years ago, and you’re talking. Refund my previous duplicate purchase costs and you’ve added real value.

  6. I still want a subscription service to *complement* iTunes. I would pay a monthly fee to explore songs, then go back to buy the album if I liked them. I just hate wasting money to find out the new album I bought is crap.

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