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Posts Tagged ‘itunes’

DMR=no-DRM?

In Business, Media, News on October 17, 2007 at 12:34 pm

So I just read this yesterday: According to this post on Ars Technica, DRM-free iTunes Plus downloads will be priced at 99c instead of $1.29. Is this a result of competitive pressure from Amazon’s new MP3 store (available only in the US) which sells only DRM-free music from EMI and others at lower prices? Hard to believe, as Amazon’s share in the MP3 market must be negligible and their site leaves much to be desired, but it could be that Apple is proactively dropping their prices on iTunes to maintain their pole position. Most likely I would guess that they have found their pricing at $1.29 was too high.

But if all this is true, it will mean that iTunes will offer DRM and non-DRM versions of the same songs, for the same price!

Something is wrong here, there is probably some transition going on, where, if any of this is true, Apple is reconsidering their pricing. They have two options: Either they drop the DRM versions entirely for those labels and artists who favor the DRM-free format, or they must price DRM and non-DRM versions differently. A subscription model for DRM songs would be an alternative.

And of course if they do price all DRM-free downloads at the standard price of 99c they ought to offer a free upgrade to all those faithful iTunes buyers who paid 99c to get the DRM versions!

iTunes, EMI, Universal and Warner

In Media, News on July 3, 2007 at 12:51 am

So, recently EMI made what is probably a historic decision. The ENTIRE EMI CATALOG will henceforth be available on the iTunes music store in two versions: One with DRM, as usual, and one DRM-free, with a higher bitrate and with a higher price tag. The decision is historic as it is not every day that a major label decides to drop DRM (or at least experiment with wide distribution of non-DRM’d music). It will be interesting to see where that takes them and whether more labels will follow in their footsteps. BoingBoing among others reported on the story.

From a related cnet article:

“Higher-quality music files, which will play on any computer and any digital-audio player, will not replace the copy-protected EMI music currently sold through iTunes. Rather, they will complement the standard 99-cent iTunes downloads and will be sold at a premium: $1.29 per song.

Consumers who have already purchased EMI tracks containing Apple’s FairPlay copy protection will be able to upgrade them to the premium version for 30 cents, EMI said. Full albums in DRM-free form can be bought at the same price as standard iTunes albums.”

Well, not all is bright and rosy on iTunes. Apparently Universal is considering moving out of the iTunes store! More on this (though not much more, as the reasons behind this move are not so clear) also from BoingBoing. Also, Warner is apparently known to be pro-DRM and are not happy with Steve Jobs’ recent calls for DRM-free music.

One thing’s for sure… the shakeup of the music industry we’ve been witnessing in the past few years is far from over. As a consumer I’m personally hoping for more EMI-like announcements, though labels will certainly weigh the pros and cons very carefully.

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