Apple Goes 100% DRM Free

Apple has rolled out the 100% DRM free iTunes, otherwise known as iTunes+. With this change also comes variable pricing; songs now cost $0.69, $0.99, or $1.29. Most albums still cost $9.99. Users who have purchased music via iTunes prior to the upgrade have the option to upgrade their songs, albums, or their entire library for a cost of $0.30 per song. Recording companies will choose the price of their songs, much as they did for CDs sold in store and online. The move to iTunes+ was officially announced in January at the Macworld Expo convention.

With the rollout of iTunes+ today, Apple has officially done away with copy-protection technology known as DRM (digital-rights management). Without DRM, customers will be able to play songs on devices other than Apple’s iPods. In addition, DRM-free songs can be copied to any number of CDs, computers, and music players so long as the device supports the AAC encoding format that Apple uses. A number of non-iPod devices support AAC such as Microsoft’s Zune and some players from SanDisk and Creative Technology. You can convert AAC files to other formats for playback on incompatible devices as well.

For some songs, iTunes+ signals an increase in prices. With the price of many songs increasing, we have to wonder if it’s only a matter of time until Amazon and other digital media services increase their prices as well. We hope not. Amazon currently offers many songs for $0.79 and $0.89 and most albums for $5.99 to $9.99. Wal-Mart’s song prices are currently set at $0.64, $0.94, and $1.24.

Tags:  Apple, itunes, mp3, music, DRM