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The end of DRM on iTunes

January 7, 2009

This week Apple announced that by the end of the first quarter of 2009 all music available to download from the iTunes store will be DRM (Digital Rights Management) free. Essentially this means that once you have downloaded a track you can store and play it on any compatible device. The new format is known as iTunes Plus.

The introduction of this new format for the whole iTunes catalogue comes with the news that single tracks will no longer be sold at the standard price of £0.79. Pricing will now be variable with singles priced at either £0.59, £0.79 or £0.99. There is also the option to convert your existing purchases to iTunes Plus for a charge of £0.20 per song.

I’m not sure what impact this is going to have on my music purchasing habits. I’ve had no real problem with the restrictions imposed by DRM. I buy pretty much all of my new music from iTunes which I play on my laptop and iPod. With the option to authorize up to 5 other computers there’s scope for me to expand this as I’ve still got some flexibility there. As I don’t buy music that often I think for me it’s worth waiting to see where it goes from here before I jump in and upgrade my account to iTunes Plus. I’ll reassess next time I’m looking to buy something.

For more info on iTunes Plus see the iTunes Plus FAQ

For more info on DRM see the BBC’s DRM Q&A

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