Update: It's been brought to our attention that Harmonix originally announced that these songs would be available "for a limited time ... at a special holiday price of $0.99." Joystiq regrets the implication that the price increase was unannounced.
Price-conscious and/or pretentious Rock Band fans were understandably giddy when Harmonix decided to release five downloadable indie tracks for the bargain price of 99 cents (or the equivalent number of Microsoft points) in late December. We hope those fans didn't procrastinate, though, because the price for all five tracks has been raised to the more conventional $1.99 as of yesterday.
While there was no indication at the outset that the lower price would be in any way temporary, (see above update) The increase has been rumored for a couple of weeks now. When Harmonix announced the Rock Band DLC program they said individual track prices would range anywhere from $0.99 to $2.99, but they also stressed that the "vast majority" of tracks would hit the $1.99 sweet spot.
Does this increase mean that future songs are less likely to be released at 99 cents? "I don't think that's necessarily what it means," said a spokesperson for MTV/Harmonix, though he added that future 99 cent releases would probably "be the same situation, with the discounted price for a limited time." We've asked for confirmation of the official policy on this score and will let you know if and when we hear back about it.