updated 11:50 am EST, Tue February 24, 2009
iTunes Pass debuts
Apple has introduced the concept of the iTunes Pass, a new shopping option in the music section of the iTunes Store. The Pass automatically subscribes a person to all of the tracks and videos in a particular collection, downloading existing material and anything new as it becomes available. Apple notes that all the material provided in a Pass is DRM-free, and encoded with 256kbps AAC audio.
Currently featured is the $20 "Sounds of the Universe" Pass, which provides two songs from the upcoming Depeche Mode album and will fill out with material as the record's June 16th release date approaches.
The scheme should not be confused with the one used for Microsoft's Zune Pass, which is a true subscription service that lets users play an unlimited number of tracks, keeping 10 permanently each month for a regular fee. A similar offering has been rumored from Apple for some time, but has largely been dismissed by industry sources.