DRM-free and even higher-quality songs on iTunes Store

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DRM-free and even higher-quality songs on iTunes Store

Postby Antony » Mon 02 Apr, 2007 10:11 am

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At the special event in London on Monday, EMI Music announced that it is launching new premium downloads for retail on a global basis, making all of its digital music available at a much higher sound quality than existing downloads and free of digital rights management (DRM) restrictions and that Apple iTunes Store will be the first online retailer to offer legal, higher quality, DRM-free music.

Pricing will be US$1.29/£0.99/€1.29; however, iTunes will continue to offer consumers the ability to pay US$0.99/£0.79/€0.99 for standard sound quality tracks with DRM still applied.

Customers who have already purchased standard tracks or albums with DRM will be able to upgrade their digital music for US$0.30/£0.20/€0.30 per track. All EMI music videos will also be available on the iTunes Store DRM-free with no change in price.

The news follows Apple CEO Steve Jobs open letter in which he made his feelings known about the requirements of the big four music labels to protect the music iTunes sells with digital rights management. Speaking at a press conference in London today, Jobs said: “We think our customers are going to love this, and we expect to offer more than half of the songs on iTunes in DRM-free versions by the end of this yearâ€
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Postby Don_HH2K » Mon 02 Apr, 2007 2:46 pm

Personally I'm hoping that all the other record labels and music stores follow suit with the Apple/EMI deal. I, for one, am not a DRM fan, and that's more or less the primary reason I still buy CDs.

And hell, at that, they're offering the tracks ripped at 256kbps on these now. Honestly I never thought I'd see two-channel audio being distributed by an entity like iTMS at bitrates higher than I usually rip at.
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Postby Antony » Mon 02 Apr, 2007 3:31 pm

And this exciting iTunes news is on national breakfast news TV as well as CNN Business this morning!

It is indeed a great news for all music lovers. Except some certain iTunes haters, they simply have one less legit 'reason' to bash Apple iTunes. But they will still bash iTunes as we all know.
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Postby Mandrake » Mon 02 Apr, 2007 3:40 pm

Antony, do you know if this DRM free music will be available on iTunes in Australia?
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Postby Antony » Mon 02 Apr, 2007 4:24 pm

Mandrake wrote:Antony, do you know if this DRM free music will be available on iTunes in Australia?
This morning's Sunrise news did not mention iTunes Australia specifically. I will try to find it out later.
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Postby Antony » Mon 02 Apr, 2007 7:32 pm

Apple's Press Release: Apple Unveils Higher Quality DRM-Free Music on the iTunes Store:
DRM-Free Songs from EMI Available on iTunes for $1.29 in May
[quote]We are going to give iTunes customers a choice—the current versions of our songs for the same 99 cent price, or new DRM-free versions of the same songs with even higher audio quality and the security of interoperability for just 30 cents more,â€
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Postby Mandrake » Tue 03 Apr, 2007 3:41 am

That's awesome. I'll be definitely buying some more music from iTunes when this is available next month! :)
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Postby Antony » Tue 03 Apr, 2007 7:20 am

Currently, iTunes Store sells songs that are 128 kbps AAC encoded with DRM for 99 cents (USD). From May, users can pay extra 30 cents (USD) for 256 kbps without DRM legally. That's twice the bitrate.

Do you think the extra 30 cents justify the DRM-free and twice the bitrate? We have [sdt=13223]a poll[/sdt] on this topic, and please feel free to discuss it.
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Apple Launches iTunes Plus

Postby Antony » Thu 31 May, 2007 3:05 am

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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 30 cents more ($1.29) per song. iTunes Plus is launching with EMI’s digital catalogue of outstanding recordings, including singles and albums from Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, Norah Jones, Frank Sinatra, Joss Stone, Pink Floyd, John Coltrane.

iTunes Plus (twice the quality and DRM-free) costs 30 cents (USD), 20 pence (sterling), 30 cents (Euro), or 50 cents (AUD) more.

Paul McCartney's classic albums are now also available on iTunes Store for the first time.

iTunes 7.2 is required for iTunes Plus.
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Postby Don_HH2K » Thu 31 May, 2007 5:40 am

Has anybody read this article on Ars Technica?

With great power comes great responsibility, and apparently with DRM-free music comes files embedded with identifying information. Such is the situation with Apple's new DRM-free music: songs sold without DRM still have a user's full name and account e-mail embedded in them, which means that dropping that new DRM-free song on your favorite P2P network could come back to bite you.

...

The big question, of course, is what might Apple do with this information? Because it can be spoofed, it's not exactly the best way to determine who is sharing music, and in any case, tracing a link back such as this would leave a copyright holder in a gray area. Embedded data or not, the mere presence of the data in a file found on a share is not an unassailable indicator of copyright infringement.

That said, it would be trivial for iTunes to report back to Apple, indicating that "Joe User" has M4As on this hard drive belonging to "Jane Userette," or even "two other users." This is not to say that Apple is going to get into the copyright enforcement business. What Apple and indeed the record labels want to watch closely is: will one user buy music for his five close friends? The entertainment industry is obsessed with the idea of "casual piracy," or the occasional sharing of content between friends. I wouldn't be surprised if some data was being analyzed in aggregate, although Apple's current privacy policy does not appear to allow for this. As with the dust-up over the mini-store, Apple should clarify what this embedded data is used for.
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Postby Antony » Sun 03 Jun, 2007 2:33 am

All iTunes music purchased from iTunes Store come with additional goodies and information, such as album art, file size, bit rate, file kind (e.g. AAC), purchased information.

There are people who are good at bashing Apple, and whingeing at anything Apple does.
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Postby Don_HH2K » Sun 03 Jun, 2007 3:52 pm

I wouldn't include personally-identifiable information in "goodies". Album art, file size, bitrate, and file type are fine, but implementing tracking information is an entierly different story.

Of course, since the files are DRM-free, one could most likely easily rip the data out quickly using a tool like MP4Box and a batch script.
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Postby Antony » Sun 03 Jun, 2007 10:00 pm

iTunes Store Terms of Service has been updated to reflect the addition of iTunes Plus. You can read the full Terms of Service, http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/service.html

Here's the related bit:
[quote="iTunes Store Terms of Service"]b. Use of Products. You acknowledge that Products (other than the iTunes Plus Products) contain security technology that limits your usage of Products to the following Usage Rules, and, whether or not Products are limited by security technology, you agree to use Products in compliance with the applicable Usage Rules.

Usage Rules

(i) Your use of the Products is conditioned upon your prior acceptance of the terms of this Agreement.

(ii) You shall be authorized to use the Products only for personal, noncommercial use.

(iii) You shall be authorized to use the Products on five Apple-authorized devices at any time.

(iv) You shall be able to store Products from up to five different Accounts on certain devices, such as an iPod, at a time.

(v) You shall be authorised to burn an audio playlist up to seven times.

(vi) You shall not be entitled to burn Video Products.

(vii) You shall be entitled to export, burn (if applicable) or copy Products solely for personal, noncommercial use.

(viii) You may not use Products as a musical “ringerâ€
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Postby Antony » Sun 03 Jun, 2007 10:24 pm

Get Info of a song previously bought from iTunes Store:
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Get Info of an iTunes Plus song (this week's free song):
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Instead of "Protected AAC audio file" and 128 kbps for bit rate, it's "Purchased AAC audio file" and 256 kbps. There's no FairPlay version in the iTunes Plus music, but the file size is larger.
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Postby Don_HH2K » Tue 16 Oct, 2007 10:36 am

Has anybody read about how Apple is revising its iTunes Plus prices from $1.29/song to $0.99/song, the same as the current DRMed tracks?
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