Apple Announces "iTunes Without DRM"

Apple today announced something rumored for a long time, and something several other music stores have already had: DRM-less music.  Of course, Apple was already selling DRM-less EMI music via its iTunes Plus store but now, according to Apple, everything will be DRM-free (well, as of the end of the quarter, anyway).

Eight million of iTunes' ten million songs are currently available DRM-free, with the remaining to be "cleansed" by the end of Q1 09. Make sure you note the "iTunes Plus" label to make sure the song / album is DRM-free, if you want to be sure about something you want to buy.

Pricing? Well, it is tiered, as the music labels finally get the variable pricing they wanted. There will be $0.69, $0.99, and $1.29 tiers. It's unclear how exactly the tiers are determined, however, and the new tiered pricing does not kick in until April.

Based on what they are saying, it might take until April to get everything figured out; their press release says:
And beginning in April, based on what the music labels charge Apple, songs on iTunes will be available at one of three price points: 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29, with most albums still priced at $9.99.
Aha, negotiations are still in progress.  If Amazon MP3 and Wal-Mart are watching, hopefully they have a response for this move planned, as it eliminates the DRM-free advantage they held.
Tags:  Apple, iPhone, iPod, itunes