updated 06:40 pm EDT, Mon April 6, 2009
Apple removes iTunes songs
Apple has reportedly removed content from the iTunes store amid the transition to the DRM-free iTunes Plus format. A tipster observed that certain previously-available items, such as Neil Young's The Bridge School Collection and the English folk compilation Scarborough Fair: The Best Of English Folk, are now missing from the store.
Apple in January announced plans to move away from DRM protections and eventually offer every track as the iTunes Plus format. Initially, 8 million songs were available DRM-free, while the remaining 2 million were claimed to be added by the end of March.
The company has not announced if the missing content was temporarily removed for the switch, or if the change will be permanent. The move to iTunes Plus required re-negotiation of contracts with many of the music labels. Although Apple successfully agreed on terms with each of the major players, there is a possibility that a few of the smaller labels were unwilling to accept the new policies.
Apple ran into problems late in January as customers attempted to upgrade prior purchases to the Plus format. Instead of receiving the typical discounted price of each track, the billing system charged for the whole album.
The true reason for the removed content remains unknown. Aside from contract issues regarding DRM, record labels can pull content for a variety of other reasons.