iTunes Plus Launches

Post ImageSteve Jobs has finally made good on his promise to offer DRM-free music through iTunes. Apple is announcing today the availability of iTunes Plus:

Apple® today launched iTunes® Plus—DRM-free music tracks featuring high quality 256 kbps AAC encoding for audio quality virtually indistinguishable from the original recordings—for just $1.29 per song.

In addition, iTunes customers can now easily upgrade their library of previously purchased EMI content to iTunes Plus tracks for just 30 cents a song and $3.00 for most albums.

I think this is great news. The more retailers that offer DRM-free music the better! I am kind of confused by the pricing though.

Why are DRM-free tracks more expensive than DRM’d ones? They are higher quality encodings, sure, but so high than an extra 30 cents is warranted to cover the costs of storage and transfer? I don’t think so. Not when Amazon S3 sells bandwidth for 20 cents per GB.

I also find it kind of insulting that they named the store “iTunes Plus”. A more appropriate name would be “the iTunes you actually want” or something. Seriously.

Read: Apple

4 thoughts on “iTunes Plus Launches

  1. I’d say it’s that much more for these reasons:
    – They have to offset the inevitable loss of business due to people sharing the the non-DRM versions
    – The higher price increases the perceived value of the higher quality track
    – They couldn’t easily charge a big enough upgrade price if they were the same price, and the upgrade is a potential 2nd revenue stream for a ‘2nd format’ (e.g. upgrading from VHS to DVD to HD)

    Is the DRM-free stuff truely DRM-free, i.e. while it can be copied, is there still any meta data in there tieing it to the purchaser in case it is shared – a bit like having a bait car for thieves to break into only to find it’s wired with a way to hold them when it automatically breaks down 100m later?

  2. I don’t think there will be a loss of business. All of the music available in iTunes Plus is already available on BitTorrent networks anyway. I’d say there will be INCREASED business, because people like me or my Dad will actually buy music digitally now that there is no DRM instead of buying and ripping the CD.

    Not sure about your last question…why wouldn’t the DRM-free stuff be truely DRM-free? I think they’d get in trouble really fast if it was discovered that the files were still restrictive.

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