DRM-Free Music comes to iTUNES
Posted by shadmia on May 31, 2007
Apple has released a new version of iTunes (7.2), its popular online music store called iTunes Plus. The big news here is that the new version now sells DRM-Free music. DRM or Digital Rights Management (better known as copy protection) is the software that is embedded into downloaded music which restricts how and where the music can be played. For instance music previously purchased from the iTunes music store could only be played on an iPod or an authorized computer. It could not be played on any other music player and could not be transferred to your friend’s computer or a file sharing service because it would have to be “authorized” by you each time to be played. Apple has now removed this copy protection from a limited number of songs, those sold by the EMI group, and has urged others to follow suit. See the Apple announcement for complete details.
The new DRM-Free music vs the old DRM music:
- Will cost more – $1.29 vs $0.99
- Will be higher quality – 256 kbps vs 126 kbps
- Will be upgradeable for $0.30 each or $3.00 per album from the old music
iTunes Plus is launching with EMI’s digital catalog of outstanding recordings, including singles and albums from Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, Norah Jones, Frank Sinatra, Joss Stone, Pink Floyd, John Coltrane and more than a dozen of Paul McCartney’s classic albums available on iTunes for the first time. London-based EMI, is the world’s third-largest music company by sales. Barney Wragg, the global head of digital music at EMI, said the iTunes Plus launch capped six months of work to convert most all of the company’s digital catalog into a DRM-free format.
“Our customers told us two things deterred them from buying digital,” Wragg said. “They weren’t 100 percent confident that the songs they’d purchase could play on their devices, and they wanted something closer to CD quality.”
“We definitely think it’s the right thing to do,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes, said. “In this case, EMI’s a leader and we think others will follow.”
Before you get too happy about the possibilities this new DRM-Free music is not a license to spread unlimited copies of your music all over the place. Apple will embedded inside each music file your full name and e-mail account. This information will be included in any copies made, allowing for a trail back to the original owner.
Earlier this year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs called on the world’s four major record companies to start selling songs online without copy-protection software. He expects that more than half of the 5 million tunes sold by Apple will be DRM-Free by the end of the year.
One minor drawback is that the music sold on iTunes is in the AAC format which some players don’t recognize, this would mean that some users may have to convert their music to the MP3 format which is universally accepted.