People who take joy in hating all things Apple, iTunes, and iPod have one less gripe. After reaching a new agreement with the major record labels Apple announced that it will no longer embed copy protection into any of its songs. Not only does that mean that it will become easier to move iTunes libraries between computers but non-iPod devices will now be able to play files purchased from the iTunes store. Starting today 8 million songs will be offered DRM-free, the transition is expected to be finished in approximately 3 to 4 months. Apple has also decided to allow the record companies to have different pricing strategies for different artists. Tracks will sell for $0.69, $0.99, or $1.29 in the United States. The major unanswered question is what about all of those previously sold DRM-encumbered files already sold? Will customers be able to upgrade to the real deal for little or no money? Now if only they would allow iTunes and the iPod to play FLAC files and sell lossless files in the iTunes store, they
I've heard that iTunes users can "upgrade" to DRM-free music for .30 a song. To me, it sounds like a "rent to buy" program if you think about it.
I also heard that they will be 256kbps AAC files - a fairly significant quality improvement. They really need to sell lossless files (I won't hold my breath for FLAC, but that would be ideal - I might actually buy something from them).
I just upgraded all of my iTunes Store-purchased content (227 songs/14 albums) to DRM unwrapped, 256K content for $49 using iTunes Plus. Seemless, fast and easy.