LOS ANGELES (AP) - Universal Music Group, whose roster of artists includes 50 Cent, U2, Elton John and Diana Krall, will cut the price of its wholesale CDs and push for a $12.98 retail cap on its discs in an attempt to woo music fans back into record stores.
The world's largest recording company hopes retailers, who have suffered as industrywide music sales dropped 31 percent the last three years, will follow its lead and pass on the savings to consumers.
Universal hopes the actual retail price of most of its CD will end up about $10 or less, comparable to the $9.99 retail price that music fans enjoyed in the early 1990s, at the height of a price war between the recording companies.
The company also said it would cut wholesale prices on cassettes and change the suggested retail price to $8.98. Latin recordings and multiple disk packages or CD box sets would not be included in the pricing change.
The price changes would go into effect by Oct. 1.
The recording industry blames its sales slump largely on illegal music swapping over peer-to-peer networks and is expected to take legal action against hundreds of suspected file-swappers this month.
But industry critics say the record companies have, for more than a decade, ignored the effects of soaring CD prices on sales. They also contend the artistic quality of music has deteriorated.