DRM-Free Music on iTunes, Starting Now
Apple’s long-awaited switch to non-copyright-protected music on its iTunes downloading service finally became a reality on Wednesday, about a months after the company announced it.
Starting with songs from the EMI family of record labels, ”iTunes Plus” will allow users to download the Digital Rights Management-free songs for $1.29, 30 cents more than the usual price, and play the tracks on non-Apple-afflilated mp3 players, such as the Sandisk or the Zune. Microsoft’s Zune player this week sold its one millionth player, just in time to play the iTunes songs for the first time.
“We expect more than half of the songs on iTunes will be offered in iTunes Plus versions by the end of this year,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement. The iTunes catalog contains more than 5 million songs. Other music services such as eMusic have long offered independent music without copyright protection, and Amazon has announced plans to launch a DRM-free music downloading service by the end of the year.