iTunes going DRM free

Apple have just announced, during the MacWorld keynote, that 10 million songs on iTunes will become DRM free by the end of Q1 2009.

On the Apple iTunes store the text reads "This is a special offer to upgrade your entire music library of previously purchased songs, albums and music videos now available in iTunes plus. You will be charged $0.30 a song, 30% of the current album price and $0.60 a music video to upgrade. Just click buy now and new versions of all your music below will be downloaded in iTunes Plus. This page updates automatically as we add more music in iTunes Plus. Please check back often!"

Tracks should sell for 69¢, 99¢, and $1.29 -- depending on their demand.

In a separate announcement, iPhone users are now able to purchase music from the iTunes store via 3G. Previously users could only download music on a Wi-Fi network.


Image courtesy of Engadget

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87 Comments

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I find this very unfair, the fact that they are charging!

When I first started downloading music from iTunes (back when I was young and naive), I didn't know it would be protected by DRM. I didn't even know what DRM is. So I downloaded a lot of songs. It then turned out I could not play them on friends' computers and other devices. I was not happy.

Now they are going to charge me again to buy the same songs I already have bought!? :angry:

It's not about the higher quality, it's about the DRM. I'd rather them upgrade it with the same quality but just not DRM and I'm sure a lot of others would! The fact is, I just want my music DRM free and I don't want or need it higher quality. They should provide DRM-free upgrades at 128KBPS for free and if they are not able to then they shouldn't make you pay for the 256KBPS upgrade. It's as simple as that.

There was nothing that clearly stated you cannot play music on other devices and that the tracks were DRM protected. Nothing, back when I was downloading them. They may have said in the terms and conditions or something stupid, but nobody reads those, let's face it. We don't have time to read a long list of T&C when they could have just put a notice on the iTunes store or given us this upgrade for free.

We have already bought the damn tracks! Some of us expecting to be able to play them on other devices!

omg, it is really a good news for us, i finally can put itunes songs to my mp3.
i don't buy songs and video from itunes store often.
because i have << spam >> iPod Movie Converter.
i found it few monthes before and then i really don't need itunes store. it can convert all the popular formats to iPod video

formats.
have a try here:
http://www.<< spam >>/ipod-movie-converter.html
here is also one for mac user:
<< spam >> iPod Video Converter for Mac
get it here:
http://www.<< spam >>/ipod-video-converter-for-mac.html

i would always recommend amazon mp3 store, you have either 256kbps or 320kbps CBR or you get v0 VBR encoded mp3s, always without DRM and with album art embedded in the file as well as all tags

And those of us who are responsible enough to understand that stealing copyrighted material (even if it is easy) is stealing none the less. I will take getting gouged by Apple over getting gouged by a cellmate named "Bubba" who has ideas about making me his girlfriend. Arrrrgghhh!

nunjabusiness said,
I know several people who ditched their i-Farts for Sansa MP3 players.

I wouldn't buy water from Apple if my ass was on fire.

So they traded down.

Makes perfect sense.


LTD said,

So they traded down.

Makes perfect sense.

nope it's a upgrade... cause if you got a Sansa e200 series (v1) you can run Rockbox (www.rockbox.org) on it which makes it far better than the overrated/overpriced IPOD stuff is.

cause in general the Sansa e200 series is a pretty good player for your money (i.e. good bang for the buck) if your only using it for pretty much audio which is the whole point of those in the first place ;)

cause with rockbox it can play alot of audio formats that most stock firmware players cannot... i really like Rockbox for it's .OGG support myself.

roadwarrior said,
You can use rockbox on many models of iPod as well.

The amount of ignorance in this thread is amazing.

you can but aint most of the IPOD's you can find nowadays not supporting rockbox? ... either way though... my point is, Sansa is far cheaper for similar level of player compared to the IPOD stuff... which still makes the point valid overall.

cause basically.. you can find alot of 4GB-8GB Sansa e200 series players for probably 50 bucks or less while a similar level of IPOD is probably twice-ish that price?.

I don't want ACC so never use iTunes anyway, but I agree this seems like a rip-off to charge you twice for the same song even if it is at a discount and at higher bitrate. Never trusted DRM to begin with and this is one of the reasons why. You get screwed due to limitation in use and now that things are changed you get screwed again.
What a way to thank all those who bothered to use it.

Fantastic.

I just wish they would let you upgrade in increments. Right now it is telling me I need to pay $260 to upgrade my library - what if I just want to do it by genre or something!

So why even buy DRM music in the first place? Thats something I would never buy no matter how cheap it is. I cant ever see why this caught on in the first place.

Exactly. I've stuck to CDs because the quality is better and I'm free to rip and backup the files as I please. The only way I'd consider downloading music would be if it was through a service like Steam that a) is DRM-free and b) allows you to redownload files as many times as you like without cost.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Exactly. I've stuck to CDs because the quality is better and I'm free to rip and backup the files as I please. The only way I'd consider downloading music would be if it was through a service like Steam that a) is DRM-free and b) allows you to redownload files as many times as you like without cost.

Exactly. I love steam & 7digital

Okay, so at the risk of putting my ignorance on display ... have a question. All of the music that I have downloaded from iTunes over the past three years have come in the .m4p extension. It was my understanding that any songs that I downloaded from iTunes would be in the .aac format. Am I missing something? Am I too stupid to actually own a computer? Seriously, when I first heard that the .aac format could be played on Windows Media Player I was overjoyed (not sure why, just something about being completely tied to Apple) only to find out after an extensive search, that I don't actually have any .aac files on my computer. Can someone please shed some light on this for me ... without too much ridicule.

Raa said,
It's a m4p file, with AAC encoding, I believe :)

QFT. Encoded with AAC, but in an .m4p wrapper (which is the part that contains the DRM).

roadwarrior. So, how can I play my .m4a files on Media Player. Tried doing it this afternoo, but received a message that the file format is unsupported. Am I doing something wrong. Any ideas? Would love to be able to ween myself off of iTunes.

bradsday said,
roadwarrior. So, how can I play my .m4a files on Media Player. Tried doing it this afternoo, but received a message that the file format is unsupported. Am I doing something wrong. Any ideas? Would love to be able to ween myself off of iTunes.
Windows Media Player does not currently support aac files. However, WMP 12 as found in Windows 7 does!

Probably a stupid question, but is there a new iTunes version? Because whenever I click the link on iTunes for the DRM-free deally, it just takes me to the iTunes d/l page in Firefox.

From what I can see it requires iTunesPlus which is different from basic iTunes.

I don't use iTunes just what it seems in what I can read.

iTunes Plus is simply the increased quality, DRM free music store service. You never have to pay more for a "premium" version of iTunes.

There isn't a new version, but you might as well upgrade if you haven't anyway. Who knows what they changed in the last version that could prevent you from getting new music. I think they only let the latest version download from the store anyway.

Just check Apple Software Update, or if you've uninstalled that (on Windows I believe that's an option, but it's a core part of OS X anyway) find the version of iTunes (probably in the help menu somewhere, or under the iTunes menu on OS X) and compare it to the website.

As much as I hate Apple's products, they are doing the right thing finally - but, people need to realise this is only happening because they HAVE to do it, not like other companies who have done it because they know it's the right thing.

AND, they're charging everyone AGAIN for the songs - come on, what is with that??

If Microsoft did this...

What? It'd be called iTunes 9, not work properly and cost $150 to upgrade? lol

MS wouldn't do it for free, and you know it!

Raa said,
What? It'd be called iTunes 9, not work properly and cost $150 to upgrade? lol

MS wouldn't do it for free, and you know it!

He is saying if Microsoft did what Apple is doing, people would be bashing them like there's no tomorrow. When Apple does it, they are praised.

Jugalator said,
I don't think people would be too hard on MS either if they dropped DRM from their marketplaces.

Zune marketplace has less then 10% drm on music now. Only the monthly zune pass has drm music still

So let me get this straight. First, you're charged to download the music that can only be played on your device, fine. Then Apple later decides to "offer" this "deal" that allows you to uncripple the same tracks that you already legitimately paid for and own but you have to PAY AGAIN for EACH and EVERY TRACK just so you can have the same luxury that everybody who's smart enough to have avoided Apple, iPODs, iPhones, iTunes, and Steve Jobs in the first place by using the hundreds of P2P apps that are FREELY available... almost all of which have been offering UNRESTRICTED use of music for years and years at NO COST at all!!!???

The kind of people who buy into this crap just so they can consider themselves "legitimate" deserve this kind of corporate throat-cramming BS. Meanwhile, the RIAA continues to fight piracy and sue people that are compelled to avoid paying for music not once but TWICE? Do you see the irony of DRM? Boy I love news like this... it fuels my passion for hating anything and everything APPLE!!!

Don't forget that what you're paying is essentially an upgrade fee as iTunes Plus is much higher quality than the previous DRMed releases. But I agree with you to a point that it's like paying for the same songs twice.

iPods had nothing to do with protected music. On my iPod is all my music, unprotected of course. And iTunes was never used.

where do you see this in the itunes store? i can't see anything about this and i am looking at the UK store.

chenks said,
where do you see this in the itunes store? i can't see anything about this and i am looking at the UK store.

Look for a link that says "Upgrade" in the Quick Links section on the top right hand corner.

TCLN Ryster said,
Look for a link that says "Upgrade" in the Quick Links section on the top right hand corner.

don't have an "upgrade" option in the quick links.

chenks said,
don't have an "upgrade" option in the quick links.

its possible all the stuff you have already purchased is itunes plus already.

ZeroHour said,
its possible all the stuff you have already purchased is itunes plus already.

Indeed, after I upgraded my collection of 28 purchased songs for a fiver, the upgrade link disappeared, but I did get a new message at the top of the store that said all my music was up to date but to check back regularly as more music would be upgraded in the future.

It seems the cost is 25% of the cost of a song here in the UK, not 30% as shown in the screenshot of the article above. The UK gets something cheaper for a change? That can't be right, surely ;-)

Anyhow, I wonder if this "upgrade" will copy over your edited meta data from the old files to the new ones, such as ratings, last play date, lyrics, etc.

einsteinbqat said,
Man... Nearly 600$ to switch to DRM-free!!! That is crazy!


Damn, how many songs have you purchased? I just upgraded 23 songs and it was less than $7 (I had bought about 50 or so songs, but those 23 were the only ones available for upgrade right now).

When 7digital did this (switch over their remaining DRM songs to MP3) they gave everyone a free upgrade, what a rip off that they are charging you twice!

MusicMan08 said,
Question, how do I just upgrade one album or set of songs? I don't need my entire library. Anyone know how to do this?

When you go to the upgrade link it shows you all the albums/songs which can be upgraded, you can select the ones you want.

Would not be so sure about that! Perhaps you should re-read the user license agreement.

You know, the whole part about you NOT owning the songs and how you are merely licensed to use said song for a set time period which is at APPLE's leisure. Meaning the agreement can be terminated at any time in which case you must delete all download songs.

Or am I just dreaming.. Doubt it!!

lol You have to re-PAY to re-download the crippled songs you've already downloaded and paid for??? Bwahahaha. Seriously what a fcking RIP OFF!!!

Glad I don't use RiP-OFF-Tunes.

artnada said,
lol You have to re-PAY to re-download the crippled songs you've already downloaded and paid for??? Bwahahaha. Seriously what a fcking RIP OFF!!!

Glad I don't use RiP-OFF-Tunes.

Lmfao hahaha

I have some mixed emotions about this. On one hand, it's a great move to increase the sense of freedom and security we should have over our music. However, on the other, I think Apple should have let us download all of our music again for free. I realize the loss of income, but if it's for songs we already own, I think we should be entitled to that. From then on, obviously, there should be a price. My two cents.

Bri- said,
I have some mixed emotions about this. On one hand, it's a great move to increase the sense of freedom and security we should have over our music. However, on the other, I think Apple should have let us download all of our music again for free. I realize the loss of income, but if it's for songs we already own, I think we should be entitled to that. From then on, obviously, there should be a price. My two cents.

+1 I think its terrible apple have not done it for free or well at least have a say £5 flat fee for all your music (assuming the total value is over £5 if you paid 25p a track.

We are talking about APPLE here not some humanitarian organization. Obviously, APPLE is in it for the money!! Don't get yourselves into thinking APPLE is any different than MICROSOFT. Far worse in reality!

bdsams said,
so what happens to all of my DRM files from itunes?

They will continue to work for now. But I'm sure the day will come (probably not any time soon, but eventually) when Apple shuts down its DRM servers and they will become useless.

At least Apple is giving its users the opportunity to replace their DRM files with DRM-free files first. And that's how I see it: They don't want to leave users in a lurch, but they need to pay for the bandwidth for re-downloading songs somehow.

So Apple can't handle the extra bandwidth for tiny MP3s but Valve allow you to redownload 10GB games like GTAIV as many times as you want? Please. This is just another money grab. It's great that they're going DRM-free but there's no denying that this is a terrible deal.

Again, it's increased quality. Not all about the DRM. So I consider it to be a fairly good deal, all things considered. It's not like Apple to offer a deal at all on stuff like this.

Better quality? It's pathetic that it's not CD-quality, a format that has been around for 25yrs. Apple has been pedalling sub-standard, DRM-laden files on the public since launch but what's worse is that people have been buying them.

There hasn't been different song prices for over a year. Apple ended the practice of charging more for "iTunes Plus" not long after introducing it. Up to this point, if there was a DRM-free version of the song, you got that one automatically.

Orlando Rays said,
There hasn't been different song prices for over a year. Apple ended the practice of charging more for "iTunes Plus" not long after introducing it. Up to this point, if there was a DRM-free version of the song, you got that one automatically.

Lol, He's not talking about "Plus"-prices...
The prices for songs are now:$ .69, .99, 1.29

you have to re-download them AND pay again for them LOL. They should just release an app to remove the protection and leave you with an unprotected .aac or .mp3 file.

torrentthief said,
you have to re-download them AND pay again for them LOL. They should just release an app to remove the protection and leave you with an unprotected .aac or .mp3 file.

And someone will have that cracked and free for everyone in 10 minutes. Lol not gonna happen. They are not going to let a program that can show the hacking world how they put their DRM on mp3s into the wild.

I dunno about everyone else, but I paid the iTunes Plus upgrade for the increased bitrate. No DRM and no more vendor lock in as a result was just a bonus; I'm a Mac user so I'll stick with iTunes, and I'll have my iPhone for a while yet. Increased sound quality is the only real benefit for me.

so? they are charging again to delete the drm from a file you already bought? Man, why don't I think of such a get-rich-quick-schemes

They have always done that. I think they are offering a discount because some people may be making a mass move from drm to non-drm music with itunes.

It's in-line with the original upgrade fee to upgrade music to iTunes Plus. And you download a new file that's not only DRM-free but higher quality. DRM iTunes music is 128kbps. DRM-free iTunes music is 256kbps.