The price of digital downloading looks set to increase following pressure from EMI over music download pricing both in the US and UK.

EMI Group boss Alain Levy said at press conference that he believed Steve Jobs, Apple's Chief Executive, would introduce multiple price points for iTunes music within the next year.

Levy, along with executives from Sony BMG and Warner Music Group, have been pushing Jobs publicly and privately to move to a tiered pricing system, where older, less popular songs would be sold for less than the current price and more popular songs in higher demand could more sold for considerably more.

Although most music labels were slow to see the potential of music download services, the companies have changed their tune seeing how lucrative the industry has become. EMI said today that digital sales, made up 4.9% of the company's sales in the last 6 months, up from 2.1% a year ago.

A system of multiple pricing would mean that digital download stores follow the high street where tracks are discounted to boost sales and increased for more popular albums.

The move has outraged fans of download services with some commentators believing that the move will force illegal downloads to increase in protest of the new pricing structure.

Apple officials refused to comment.