Macworld: iTunes Goes DRM FREE!

Phil Schiller, during his Macworld Keynote (see our MASSIVE live blog!) today, announced -- as rumored -- that iTunes is going DRM-Free! 8 million songs will be available in higher-quality 256-bit, DRM-free iTunes Plus format immediately, the remaining 2 million or so songs following by the end of the quarter.

In order to wrestle this concession from Big Music, however, Apple had to give them a concession of their own: variable pricing. Apple had long resisted this policy, preferring the unified $0.99 model (a brief flirtation with $1.29 iTunes Plus pricing not withstanding). Today, however, Schiller announced a 3 tiered structure:

  • $0.79 for older, catalog songs
  • $0.99 for mid-tier
  • $1.29 for premium (hot new singles?)

Upgrading will cost $0.30 per song, $060 per music videos, and whole albums for 30% of the album price.

So, is it working for you yet? And are you upgrading? Or just buying new song?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 21 comments. Add yours.

iPhone Fan says:

That is a fantastic development, I never thought I'd see the day when Apple went so far with DRM, thanks guys.

Steve Jobs says:

Great for Blackberry owners. Can now sync all their content without having to buy an ipod/touch/phone.

Griff says:

It hasn't been hard to strip DRM from iTunes music.
I won't be upgrading.

James says:

I still get my music from or, because I get the music at 256 for 89/99 cents, why pay $1.29 for a song that you can get for 99 cents for the same bit rate?...... well I'll see what happends

James says:

oh and I almost forgot they are DRM-Free music ;)

ANA says:

I dont buy music but cool for those who do!

Josh says:

It would seem it will be $0.40 per song and $0.80 per video (albums still -30%) in the Canadian iTunes Music Store... even though the songs have always been $0.99 in Canada as well as the US. Lame.

sting7k says:

I never thought this day would come! I have had an iPod since the third generation and have always resisted iTunes for the simple reason of DRM through all these years, 4 iPods, and 2 iPhones.
I started purchasing online from AmazonMP3 last year when they launched and loved it. Over the years I only ever bought a total of 11 songs from iTunes, which I just upgraded. Now I can shop and buy from iTunes and not just shop then go to Amazon. This is freaking sweet!

scottb says:

Anyone that says "meh" anywhere needs a b*tch-slap.
Here's one for you, virtually.

Steve says:

Of all the announcements, this was the weakest.
MEH!!! :lol:

Keil Miller says:

Wohoo! No DRM. But variable pricing? WTF. That is a turn off I think.

Simon says:

Thanks for the update. But for the price of older song, is it selling at $0.69, instead of $0.79? Probably it's a typo.

Guinness0514 says:

I still have an issue with paying another .30 per song to upgrade just to get DRM free music...Kinda makes me angry...Itunes wants another 300.00 from me to do this. also you can't seem to pick and choose what albums you want to upgrade, it's all or nothing....

Get Free iTunes says:

Higher bit rate? DRM-free? Not bad. So, now it's a case of MP3 vs. AAC and pricing.

Ryan says:

Great little feature, still using this today even though it was released in 2009.

Nicky Bogen says:

Great post here. This is the type of piece that makes the Web valueabe. Thank you.

Hiram Ege says:

Great article here. This is the type of post that makes the Web worthwhile. Thank you.

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