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Major-label iTunes Plus deal already complete?

updated 03:30 pm EST, Tue November 25, 2008

DRM-free majors on iTunes?

Apple may have already completed negotiations with the three major record labels not yet on iTunes Plus, reports suggest. Apple is only recently said to have begun talks with Warner, Universal and Sony BMG to open up its catalog for the DRM-free Plus service, which currently hosts EMI and a collection of independent labels. Although Plus tracks are popular, allowing unlimited backups and broader media player support, most major-label tracks on iTunes are locked to Apple's FairPlay DRM.

It is generally believed that Universal has been offering DRM-free deals to other music vendors -- such as Amazon, Rhapsody and Walmart -- in a deliberate move to undermine Apple's control of digital sales. The iTunes Store remains the most popular place for buying music files online.

Evidence of a finished deal is said to come not only from rumors of Sony BMG
uploading Plus content, but new accounts of tracks from various holdout labels being moved to the Upgrade My Library section of iTunes. This allows formerly DRM-protected tracks to be unlocked; as an example, one new DRM-free album is said to be Rakim's The 18th Letter/The Book of Life, published by Universal. Apple has not made any announcements however, which could signify limited or experimental arrangements, or even an accident.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Paulrm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iTunes Plus not there

    I am looking on the iTunes store at the moment, and the iTunes Plus category seems to have been removed completely!

  1. dronkert

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iTunes Plus link gone

    Yep, gone for me too. From my reply on the discussions page pages are still there, though. Here are two iTunes Store links to the iTunes Plus homepage and FAQ: can also get to that last page by double-clicking the symbol next to the price of an iTunes Plus song. It has all further relevant links.

  1. V0ID

    Joined: Dec 1969



    iTunes plus is the only online music I buy.

  1. BWhaler

    Joined: Dec 1969


    trying to give them money

    I hope the music companies have finally gotten smart and will offer their entire catalogs via iTunes plus.

    I'll upgrade my significant holdings the moment it is offered.

    I hope they learned that not offering this via the easiest way for me to buy doesn't make me go to some other store, it means I buy less music.

    But a decent bit rate and not DRM headaches, and I'm back being a serious music customer again.

    I really hope this is true.

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Microsoft needs to adopt fairplay to allow 100% interchangeable compatibility. When someone at msft figures this out we might see the end of DRM war.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Microsoft

    Sorry, but NO ONE can adopt Fairplay, because Apple refuses to license it. They apparently fear losing their stranglehold on the player or music sales market (although the thing they're keeping it for is video at this point, and they want you buying from the iTMS, not the MS Zune store or the Wal-Mart video store, or any of the others).

  1. dimmer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No one?

    So what does the Motorola RAZR use? FairPlay.

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