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iTunes Going DRM Free Today?

Gordon Kelly


iTunes Going DRM Free Today?

Here's an interesting bit of specu-rumour: iTunes may be about to give up DRM... today!

Details are thus: AppleInsider (generally a fairly reliable source in the past) has word that moves from the likes of Amazon MP3, 7Digital, Play.com and Tesco Digital to ditch DRM entirely in favour of junk-free deals with the big four record labels (for the 100th time: Universal, EMI, Warner & Sony BMG) has finally made an impact and seen Steve Jobs take action.

Without any hint or tip (until now at least) the news is the move will be made right now, 9 December, today. Of course iTunes already has a deal in place to sell EMI content DRM free (it was one of the first to do so in fact) but while a number of independent labels bulk that up, striking similar agreements with remaining trio has proved far more troublesome. On top of this iTunes tends to charge a premium for DRM tracks (which it encodes at a decent, if no-longer remarkable, 256kbps bitrate) though this pricing model seems increasingly out of touch with modern alternatives.

Should this rumour be true one of the coolest aspects is it is expected to be an instant global transition (what offers for existing DRM-owning customers, pray tell?) and we should know the validity behind, well - before the end of the day...

Keep those fingers and toes tightly crossed my chums and if true, whatever next? A reasonably priced all-you-can-eat subscription model?!


via AppleInsider


December 9, 2008, 2:51 pm

Hmm, I don't know about tending to charge a premium for DRM-free tracks? The iTunes store did this when it first started stocking DRM-free songs with a 20p premium over DRM-ed tracks, but that's been no longer the case for a while now.

As for stocking them from all major labels, it can only be a good thing. I'd still probably use Amazon though, simply for the fact that their DRM-free music is in MP3 format, and therefore, more compatible.

Barry Ward

December 9, 2008, 7:51 pm

I'm assuming they mean premium as in more expensive than 7Digital and Amazon.

I use those at the moment for price and DRM free music, but will quite happily buy from iTunes if the price is right and no DRM.

I only wish the TV shows and films could be DRM free too (although I can understand film rentals using DRM).


December 11, 2008, 4:29 pm

So has this happened? I haven't logged into iTunes to find out. Will everything be labeled as iTunes Plus?

My concern is that I only purchase iTunes Plus tracks because they are higher quality (256kbps AAC) and DRM free. If everything becomes DRM free then that's great but how are we going to differentiate between the higher quality version?


December 11, 2008, 4:58 pm

@Orinj - all silent on the western front I'm afraid. I suspect it will happen soon, but looks to have been a false alert this time around sadly,

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