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iTunes Plus is largest DRM-free catalog

updated 09:25 am EDT, Wed October 17, 2007

iTunes Plus cuts official

Though having first disclosed the information yesterday in a Wall Street Journal interview, with the results being felt almost immediately on the iTunes Store, Apple has now officially announced its price cuts for iTunes Plus. The company says that all tracks in the subsection are now just 99 cents, while still retaining their 256Kbps, DRM-free AAC encoding. Previously, Plus tracks cost $1.29. Apple also confirms that it has begun adding music from labels beyond EMI, namely indepedents such as Nettwerk, Sub Pop, Beggars Group and The Orchard. This is said to have created the "largest DRM-free catalog in the world," wording that may be a challenge to the likes of the Universal Music Group.

Universal has effectively turned its back on Apple, rejecting long-term iTunes contracts while aiding competition or creating its own. Nearly one in three music releases worldwide come from the label; artists include Rihanna, Sum 41, U2 and others.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. karmatose

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Yawn...

    When the iTMS starts offering vinyl releases along with albums, I'll start to care. Until then, I'll keep ripping my DRM free vinyl.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Hmmm

    Sounds like someone's feeling the heat, reducing prices, making statements about having the largest DRM-free collection.

    This is why you want/need the likes of Wal-Mart, Universal, Amazon, etc. starting their own stores.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: yawn...

    Everyone understands that vinyl sounds better if you spent thousands of dollars on your audio system. The fact is that most people do not have fancy audiophile quality systems to bring out the advantages of vinyl. Not to mention the fact that it's really hard to find vinyl to buy.

    AAC at 256kbps is indistinguishable for most people, and I think that's who the iTMS is geared at. I really wonder why people feel compelled to read through an iTMS article and post "vinyl is better." We know! What's your point?

  1. _Rick_V_

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: yawn

    Vinyl?! Heh, I get a kick out of you young pups. I'm not buying until iTMS starts selling 8-Track tapes.

    Testudo-- I couldn't agree more.

  1. natural1

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    NOT the largest DRM-free.

    You'll need to check out http://www.amazon.com/mp3

    Apple is lying.

  1. elroth

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: testudo

    Just one problem with your little theory: Apple was the first to offer DRM-free better quality music tracks. At the time Jobs announced it, he promised to get as many labels as he could to make DRM-free songs available.It took him a little longer than Amazon to get the independents in the store, but his deal with EMI many months ago led the way.

    As far as the price reduction - I think the labels probably had to reduce their prices to Apple, since they were selling songs cheaper to other stores like Amazon. All except Universal, who will either quit selling DRM-free on Amazon or will add DRM-free to the ITS (once they see they can't break Apple's hold on the market).

    I'm still a CD person myself, at least until the ITS offers lossless.

  1. moldyapples

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Vinyl? 8-Track?

    You young whippersnappers with your modern audio formats! Give me 78 RPM shellac on a wind-up Victrola, none of this newfangled electricity for me, thank you!

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: testudo

    Just one problem with your little theory:

    I'm confused. What theory? The 'heat' theory? That's all about the price reduction (not the non-DRM stuff)

    As far as the price reduction - I think the labels probably had to reduce their prices to Apple, since they were selling songs cheaper to other stores like Amazon. All except Universal, who will either quit selling DRM-free on Amazon or will add DRM-free to the ITS (once they see they can't break Apple's hold on the market).

    Actually proof, then, that the competition is what is driving the prices down.

    There's also a theory, BTW, that Jobs pushed the "DRM-free" memo/announcement when they heard that EMI was going to announce their decision to try it out, thus making it look like they're "leading the way". Like everyone out there thought DRM was great but Apple.

  1. bradpdx

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Done with vinyl

    "Everyone understands that vinyl sounds better if you spent thousands of dollars on your audio system". Good greif, that is hardly a given.

    At 49, I grew up with vinyl. I struggled with endless turntables, cartridges, preamps, cleaners and the rest to the tune of many thousands of dollars. Sometimes it sounded great. Very often it did not and no setup in the world could save it.

    Most actual vinyl releases are of mediocre quality, riddled with warps, inner groove distortion, clicks and noise. Looking over what remains of my LP collection (about 500 left of the old 1500) I can count the truly great sounding disks on one hand. The rest are all far better represented on CD.

    I will go further: the great majority of well-encoded compressed audio (e.g., MP3, AAC) is far superior to vinyl overall, revealing more detail with fewer artifacts.

    I have worked a lot in recording studios as a producer and player. I hear a lot of music "from the source", before release. If one compares the 2-track master to released CD and LP versions, there is no comparison. The LP sounds overly warm with obvious artifacts. The CD just sounds like the 2-track master. Case closed.

    Some people like the mechanical artifacts of vinyl, but I as a musician and music fan I am glad to give it up.

  1. macs4all

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Couldn't agree more

    As a musician, "audiopile" and electronic engineer, I agree with bradpx. If absolutely everything is absolutely perfect, then maybe, just maybe, a vinyl recording may, maybe sound a little better than a CD mastered on an old Sony PCM1610 (first gen digital tape machine).

    However, a $25 CD player playing a run-of-the mill digital transfer usually sounds as good or better than most "direct to vinyl" recordings played on a $1500 turntable with an $1800 cartridge. Sad, but true. And once we start talking about formats like DVD-A, there is simply no contest.

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