Cupertino (CA) – Apple is now offering DRM-free music through a new iTunes “Plus” store. For a 30% premium over regular, copy-protected music, Apple has become the first major online music distributor to offer some of its content without usage restrictions.
iTunes Plus is launching with the EMI catalog, which includes singles and albums from artists such as Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, Norah Jones, Frank Sinatra, Joss Stone, Pink Floyd, John Coltrane and Paul McCartney. Each of these songs is offered for $1.29 (or 30 cents more than a traditional iTunes track) as a 256 kb/s AAC encoded file. Apple said that it will continue to offer its entire catalog with more than five million songs in the same versions as today - as 128 kb/s AAC encoded tracks for 99 cents per song.
EMI and Apple allow users to “upgrade” their existing EMI songs and albums for 30 cents a song and $3.00 for “most” albums to DRM-free files. EMI is also offering music videos on iTunes Plus with no change in price, the company said.
Apple said that more than 2.5 billion songs, 50 million TV shows and more than two million movies have been sold through the iTunes store so far.