Sources: Apple to expand DRM-free music, new pricing

Discussion in 'Apple' started by KTMCDO, Jan 5, 2009.


    KTMCDO Member

    source cnet Apple to expand DRM-free music, new pricing

    Apple has cut deals that will finally enable iTunes to offer songs free of copy protection software from the three largest music labels, according to two sources close to the negotiations. In exchange, Apple has agreed to become more flexible on pricing, the sources said.

    Under the terms of the deal, song prices will be broken down into three categories--older songs from the catalog, midline songs (newer songs that aren't big hits), and current hits--said one of the sources. Apple has offered songs free of digital rights management protections from EMI for more than a year. But EMI accounts for less than 10 percent of music sold in the U.S.; these new deals will expand iTunes' DRM-free library to include songs from the other three major labels (Sony BMG, Universal, and Warner Music).

    Apple and the music labels have also apparently come to terms on over-the-air downloads, according to a source. That would allow iPhone owners to download songs to their mobile devices via cell networks and without the aid of Wi-Fi. Apple, which closed the deals last week, could announce the agreements as early as Tuesday at the Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco.

    Apple did not respond to requests for comment.

    DRM-free songs are something that many iTunes users have requested for some time. However, the celebration over their appearance at the country's largest music retailer may be overshadowed by increased prices on some hit songs, which might be seen by some as an Apple surrender on pricing. Apple fans have long applauded the company for holding the line on pricing despite loud complaints from the major music labels.

    The good news is that the price of catalog music is falling to 79 cents per song. The labels will get an opportunity to price some hit songs for more than 99 cents but eventually those songs will drop to 79 cents, according to one source.

    Before iTunes users get too worked up, they should remember that song prices at iTunes haven't increased in five years. According to the Consumer Price Index, a 99-cent song in 2002 would be worth $1.17 today.

    Not only will new music downloads be free of copy-protection software, but Apple and the labels will begin removing DRM from music already available in the iTunes Store, the source said. However, it's unclear what will happen to songs that have already been purchased.

    Click here for more Macworld Expo coverage from CNET News.
  2. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    I would assume they will do what they did when they go the DRM Free music from EMI, they will allow those that have purchased the DRM version to convert to the DRM Free version for like 29cent per song or so much per album if you purchased a whole album.

    However, it sounds like they are possible looking at a price increase for current hits downloads.

    I guess this is sort of good and bad news for those that like to buy and download music. I have pretty much quit doing that over the last year or two.
  3. Manco

    Manco Active Member

    I am happy with Amazon as a DRM free source of music.
  4. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    If you have ever purchased music via iTunes Apple will allow you to upgrade to a DRM free version of songs for .30 cents or full albums for $3.00, videos for .60cents. Not a bad deal really for those that want to escape the DRM crap.

    I usually shop both because there are times when I've found Apple $2.00, $3.00 cheaper, but more consistently usually Amazon is cheaper.

    These days though with services like Slacker that allow you to store gigs of music and Pandora that allows you to stream from their whole music library basically for free. It almost seems like a no brainer to not bother buying anymore. I will occasionally buy a full album of something I really want, but rarely these days.
  5. Supafly

    Supafly Member

    That's nice of them.

    See how many times they can charge you for the same song.

    Some people like getting kicked in the teeth.:roflmao:
  6. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    Well I guess it is all in how you look at it.

    But if I wanted to go buy that same song in the higher bitrate over on Amazon it would cost me 99 cent per song.

    I personally have been ripping the DRM out of my music for years, so I have no need of this offer, but I can see for many YES this is a good deal to go from 128kb DRM file to a 256kb non DRM file.

    Oh yeah I've really been kicked in the teeth, it is an option, no one is forced to do it. If you like the files you have then keep them. You are one of those guys that always feel everyone is out to screw you.
  7. Manco

    Manco Active Member

    I think stripping the DRM on songs that have been purchased for your own personal use is the way to go. I am a strong supporter of copyright laws, however I have purchased a couple dozen DRM songs that I can't find the license to and so they don't play. Now I won't purchase a DRM tainted song so long as there is an alternative just to avoid the whole issue.
  8. Supafly

    Supafly Member

    Whoa little doggy. No one's attacked you personally. :confused:

    I never said you like being kicked in the teeth. I don't know if you even buy from ITunes. I just quoted the info you posted to give you credit.

    I'm saying that people who swear by a company that charges it's customers twice for the same product they can buy elsewhere for less must really enjoy ramming large objects in small holes.
  9. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    Sorry I think you are confused, I didn't take your comment personal or view it as an attack.

    The point of this thread was that Apple has finally signed the other labels to be able to provide DRM free music for the bulk of their Library. My point was that if you already have a library that you purchased from them that you can pay a small upgrade fee to get the non DRM higher bitrate version. I see nothing wrong with them charging a small fee for this as it sure beats buying it again at the full price.

    Where can you get these DRM free songs for less than 30 cents other than downloading them illegally? Also who is swearing by Apple in this thread?
  10. xan_user

    xan_user Banned

    Conversion should be free and it should come with a letter of apology from Apple and the Music industry for the inconvenience they've caused their customers.

    They should really be giving us the ability to return all our defective files for a complete refund, plus interest of course.

    I vowed not to buy from anyone that support or supported DRM, so Itunes lost me from the get go.
  11. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    Why should Apple apologize for the music industry?

    The music industry are the ones that insisted on the DRM thing not those selling them. The only reason the recently started with most of the music going DRM free is because the music labels finally allowed them to do so.

    No one hates DRM more than I do, but a little reality goes a long way!
  12. Jgatie

    Jgatie Banned


    I know this is the official Apple explanation, but I can't get past one simple fact: If Jobs was truly in favor of non-DRM music, and it was the evil record companies that held them back, why wouldn't Jobs license the Apple DRM algorithm to other manufacturers in order to break the stranglehold of the record companies? In other words, if Jobs really wanted music that was playable on any system and any device (which is what DRM free is all about), then why didn't he simply make the encryption available to everyone, ala Plays-For-Sure?

    It seems to me that DRM was berry, berry good to Apple, in sales of tracks as well as locking people into hardware. Jobs can blame the record companies all he wants, but it is quite strange that all his bluster didn't mean squat until Amazon started capturing a significant piece of the market. I'm supposed to believe that all of a sudden, after holding the fort for years against Apple's onslaught for DRM-Free tunes, the record companies suddenly fold to Jobs the DRM fighter? I ain't buying it.
  13. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    There is little doubt that Apple is a very protectionist company that loves to promote their own proprietary standards, much like Microsoft. I also agree that DRM has been good to Apple that goes without question. But the facts are clear they just signed agreements to offer DRM free music and it hasn't been that long ago that Amazon did the same.

    But my point is that they have made an upgrade available for a small fee. You can either accept it, reject it it isn't mandatory.

    Look at Microsoft they do the PlayforSure standard and then come out with their own Player (Zune) which doesn't support that standard.

    You are singing to the choir on this one. My post was not defending Apple, just giving info that they made a upgraded non DRM file available for a small fee. Now some may say they should have just upgraded everyone for free. I can't argue with that either, but they decided to charge and rather someone decided to accept the upgrade offer or not is up each individual.

    I have been ripping DRM out of my music rather it was AAC's or WMA's for years.
  14. Jgatie

    Jgatie Banned

    Then we basically agree. I really have no problem with their upgrade cost, they can charge whatever the hell they want. I'm just kind of sick of hearing how Jobs The Benevolent was at the mercy of the evil record company empire when it came to DRM. I know that's how Apple spins it, and in my opinion it's a crock. Jobs has always played the hippy dippy, free love underdog, even when he has 95% of a market chained to his hardware and music store. How he gets away with it, I'll never know.
  15. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    Oh you know the marketing machine that is Apple is very good at what they do and it starts with Steve Jobs. I mean you have to give them credit where credit is due. Now is all that marketing stuff true? Hell NO it most cases it is straight up bull shit. LOL
  16. Jgatie

    Jgatie Banned

    True dat! In my mind, he'll always be the guy who weasled his way into Xerox PARC and stole 4 or 5 of the greatest revolutions in computer science from right under their noses. The poor PARC geeks thought they were inviting in a fellow researcher, instead they got a wolf in the henhouse.
  17. xan_user

    xan_user Banned

    At the very least they should apologize for charging customers more to change files into something most consumers thought they already had.
    If Apple had only supported DRM free music from its start, DRM wouldn't have held on nearly as long as its feeble attempt did.

    They helped perpetuate a bogus trend that seems to go on and on...
  18. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    Nonsense..... They are a business and they put it out there and it is up to consumers to make a choice, JUST LIKE YOU DID. You opted not to buy from them, but as a business they have every right to do what they do and charge what they want to charge. Just because you disagree with their actions means nothing.

    Just like them making the upgrade available is a choice. No one is being forced to do business with Apple.
  19. xan_user

    xan_user Banned

    Time will tell how informed the consumer really was when they figure out what DRM actually means, and how much it will cost to get full control of their purchased song collection.
    Do you think really think DRM would have lasted this long had Apple not been a big supporter of it? Sure Itunes offerings would have been much smaller at first, but DRM would have vaporized quickly if companies had disclosed to consumers what it meant up front, rather than let them figure it out over time.

    Many just break the law and get new copies "from other sources" after they realize what DRM restricts anyway.:eek:
  20. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    To be honest, I don't think most really care one way or the other. If they can buy their music download it to their iPods and it works.. They are happy.

    It is generally geeks like us that know more about this that really care about this stuff.

    I also don't believe most will break the law and download illegally as they would have just done that to begin with rather than buy it on iTunes. There are a lot of folks though that do steal their music. In the recent passed when I did buy some though rarely via iTunes even from Amazon when they were using DRM, I just stripped it out, but it was for my use only and I don't share my music with anyone. I don't view that in the same light as someone getting on Limewire or these other services and sharing music because in my opinion that is just down right stealing because the artist aren't being given their just due. On any music I purchased and stripped the artist got his/her cut.

    Apple is a protectionist company there is no doubt about it, but they provide most users just what they want a simply user experience with no thought as to the technical aspect of it. Hit buy, download it and enjoy! You can bet many will upgrade their music collection too.

    By the way you act is if Apple is the only service that did DRM. There is Yahoo, Napster, Rhapsody, Walmart and even Amazon when they first started their music store. DRM wasn't pushed by just Apple this was pushed via the Music Industry and they were forced to adopt it if they wanted to sell music. Most of them have now signed agreements to offer non DRM now. Clearly Apple was in no rush to offer non DRM music as this played to their advantage, but they are there now and that was the point of the OP. What you and I think for the average consumer means nothing.

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