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

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.