Recent figures on U.S. music sales tend to indicate the digital single is exerting a strong influence over the online music industry, as online music stores offer consumer the ability to cherry-pick albums and pay for only their favorite tracks, rather than buying the whole thing. Maybe albums are on the way out, but Apple’s iTunes has rolled out a new “Complete My Album” feature which enables consumers to purchase and entire albums’ worth of tracks without having to pay again for individual tracks they have already have purchased. iTunes will offer a 99 cent credit towards the purchase of an album for every track a customer has previously bought 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 VP of iTunes, in a statement. “Complete My Album is a wonderful new way that iTunes helps customers grow and enjoy their music collections.”
Complete My Album is time-limited: iTunes customers will have up to 180 days from the first purchase of individual tracks from a “qualifying” album to buy the rest of the tracks at a reduced price.
It remains to be seen whether features like “Complete My Album” will encourage listeners to sample unknown or under-appreciated tracks they might otherwise have skipped over in their online buying…but certainly folks who’ve never give up the mystique of the album will appreciate not (necessarily) having to buy a track a second time just to have the whole thing.