The wave washing away DRM hits Apple’s music service with
today with the announcement of iTunes Plus. The DRM-free music tracks do
command a premium over the traditional $0.99 protected tracks, with each 256
kbps AAC encoded track costing the consumer $1.29 each. iTunes customers who
have already purchased tracks that are now available on iTunes Plus may upgrade
their library of previously purchased content to iTunes Plus tracks for just 30
cents a song and $3.00 for most albums.
Songs downloaded through iTunes Plus allow customers to use
their purchased content without limitations on the type of music player or
number of computers that purchased songs can be played on.
EMI is the first and only record label with its catalog
available on the new service, as announced in April.
“This is a tremendous milestone for digital music,” said Eric Nicoli, CEO of
EMI Group. “Consumers are going to love listening to higher quality iTunes Plus
tracks from their favorite EMI artists with no usage restrictions.”
Although only EMI currently stands alone on iTunes, more are
promised within the near future. “Our customers are very excited about the
freedom and amazing sound quality of iTunes Plus,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s
CEO. “We expect more than half of the songs on iTunes will be offered in iTunes
Plus versions by the end of this year.”
EMI’s venture into unchained music isn’t only on iTunes –
the record company announced earlier this month its involvement with Amazon.com’s new MP3