Money-saving expert Martin Lewis has launched a service to cut the cost of song downloads, threatening Apple's iTunes dominance of online music.
Customers enter the title they wish to buy and Tunechecker.com scans prices at its suppliers and lists the options by price. Music fans can make considerable savings from using the service, which works along the same lines as price comparison sites for insurance and utilities.
Downloads of Robbie Williams' latest album Reality Killed The ... ranges in price from £3.97 to £7.99, while Cheryl Cole's single "Fight For This Love" ranges in price from 29p to £1.19. Susan Boyle's I Dreamed a Dream is available for £3.97 via Tesco and £7.99 on iTunes and HMV.
The biggest difference was Radiohead's The Best Of album, which ranged from £6.97 to £159.99 (a price believed to be a mistake but which was nonetheless being charged).
Consumer champion Mr Lewis, the creator of Moneysavingexpert.com, whose weekly email is received by 3.8 million bargain-hunters, said the disparities spurred him to create the new site, despite not being a music fan himself.
"We are all about saving people money," he said. "I don't necessarily want to erode iTunes' market dominance but the easiest thing is for it to bring its prices down.
"If iTunes doesn't respond to the competitiveness of the market then I think this could have an effect on them," adding that the US company's marketing was "very powerful".
Moneysavingexpert's market research revealed that many iPod and iPhone users were unaware that cheaper sites were available. Some believed they could only use iTunes.
As well as listing cheap tunes, the site offers 300 currently available legal free downloads such as Basement Jaxx's "Feelings Gone", Nine Inch Nails' "Discipline", Mystery Jets' "Diamonds In The Dark" and Royksopp's "Tricky Tricky".
Music fans welcomed the new service. "I've searched for quite a few albums and tracks and it works great," said one.
"Having spent the past two weeks trying to individually compare MP3 prices – and wishing a tool like this existed – I am delighted to see this!"
Another wrote: "Absolutely brilliant. I've been looking for a tool like this for a long time."Reuse content