January 8th, 2009
08:17 AM GMT
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NEW YORK - This week Apple Computer made it a lot easier to enjoy music purchased on iTunes. While we were all busy debating the health of Steve Jobs and his failure to make a cameo appearance at Macworld Tuesday, his substitute, Phil Schiller, announced that effective immediately 8 million songs will be available without digital rights management (DRM). Those are the restrictions that prevented song sharing or playing purchased songs on other devices. Two million more songs will be available by April.

Apple Vice President Philip Schiller delivers the MacWorld keynote address Tuesday in San Francisco
Apple Vice President Philip Schiller delivers the MacWorld keynote address Tuesday in San Francisco

Some Mac enthusiasts were underwhelmed by the news. After all there were always ways to get around the copyright restrictions. But for someone like me with little time and even less tech know-how, this definitely makes things easier.

Apple finally got the major record labels to agree to kill DRM in exchange for a tiered pricing system for iTunes. Songs will now be 69 cents, 99 cents or $1.29 (59p, 79p, or 99p if you are in the U.K.). Apple had long resisted moving away from its one-price-fits-all program, but given that they managed to get some older songs priced lower, it seems like a decent compromise - at least to me.

What I am NOT happy about is the fact that I have to pay to upgrade my existing library to DRM free format. Thirty cents a song. I have 286 songs in my purchased file, and that doesn't count the many others I bought on my old desktop that I still can't figure out how to transfer onto my new iPod. It will cost me $85 at least to upgrade the recent purchases. It is not a huge amount, but in these economic times, I would much rather spend it somewhere else.

How do you feel about the changes? Are you mad about paying the fee to upgrade your existing songs or happy to have the flexibility?

And what about the iPod itself? Ditching DRM also means that people can now play iTunes music on any kind of player. Is there a better vehicle, or is Apple still doing it right when it comes to the gadget that revolutionized music for the masses.

Let us know what you think.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Liam Morton

    About bloody time too. I will most likely pay for a greater percentage of the music I download now. I simply refuse to pay for something that restricts my use when I can – albeit criminally – download exactly the same thing with no limitations and for free. My ONLY regret in doing so is that the artists earn less money. And the fact of the matter remains that they're still FAR better off than me – I'm not even going to mention the record labels. Those who compare digital piracy to shoplifting are madly naïve and clearly do not know what they're on about.

    January 10, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  2. Sheila Thomson

    Boy, am I glad I only bought three or four...

    As far as the iPod(s)...who can resist the cutie pies? Of course Apple is doing it right!!

    January 11, 2009 at 8:20 pm |
  3. Robert MARQUEZ II

    I don't have a problem with what Apple did, if the consumer who is concerned about upgrading their library after paying for the songs once? Well perhaps they should have went to the store and bought the Compact Disc from the start! Its the same as Window users complaining that they need to spend money if they wish to get the latest system software upgrade for their computer.

    January 12, 2009 at 4:38 am |
  4. Nam(South Korea,Busan)

    Currently, I'm not using Apple product.

    But I think the compatibility is a problem.

    And I think very difficult to use the new gadgets and new systems.

    January 15, 2009 at 2:08 am |

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