Apple Changes iTunes Prices, Drops Copy Protection

Dennis Faas's picture

Apple has announced it will no longer use Digital Rights Management (DRM) copy protection on songs sold through iTunes. The firm also announced prices for individual tracks will vary depending on publisher demands.

So far, almost all songs have retailed for a fixed rate of 99 cents. That price has upset some record labels which feel their tracks would still sell at a higher price, to the point that overall revenue (split with Apple) would also be higher. The new system will see songs priced at 69 cents, 99 cents or $1.29. (Source:

The new pricing takes effect in April, when Apple hopes to have removed all digital protection from the music it sells. At the moment, Apple can't match rivals such as Amazon who already offer all their music without the Digital Rights Management (DRM) system limiting where and how buyers listen to downloaded music. There has even been some speculation that the music industry has deliberately delayed allowing Apple to offer unprotected music because it wants to keep the firm from having too much power in the digital music marketplace.

Apple announced the changes at the MacWorld conference where it also unveiled changes to iLife and iWork, its two main software packages. The changes to iLife include improvements to the Garage Band music program, which will now feature video tutorials from leading pop stars, and the debut of face recognition technology in the iPhoto program.

The announcement came from Phil Schiller, an Apple vice-president, rather than CEO Steve Jobs. While it was known in advance that Jobs would not appear at the conference, his absence reawakened speculation about his health. (Source:

The debate took a particularly nasty turn when hackers gained access to a live blog report at the popular MacRumors site and printed bogus news including a claim that Jobs had died. Fortunately, the site's readers realized it was not a genuine report, avoiding a repeat of an incident last year when a fake news story about Jobs suffering a heart attack briefly wiped $8 billion off Apple's market value.

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