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Apple Debuts DRM-free Tracks

2 Apr, 2007 By: Jessica Wolf

Looks like Steve Jobs is putting his money where his mouth is on Digital Rights Management (DRM). Or at least, he's putting iTunes users' money where his mouth is.

April 2 Apple announced the company will release a slate of music tracks with no DRM copy protection from EMI Music for an added 30 cents per track.

iTunes users even have the option of upgrading previously purchased tracks by paying the difference to get the non-DRM versions which have higher-quality encoding — 256 kbps vs. 128 kbps.

“We are going to give customers a choice — the current versions of our songs for the same 99 cent price or new DRM-free versions of the same songs with even higher audio quality and the security of interoperability for just 30 cents more,” Jobs said, in announcing the new DRM-free offering.

Apple expects to offer half the songs on iTunes win DRM-free versions.

That opens up a whole new iTunes world. Historically, iTunes tracks can only be ported to an iPod thanks to the company's FairPlay proprietary DRM. The DRM-free tracks will be able to be played on non-Apple digital music players, as well as on all iPods, Macs or Windows computers and the upcoming iPhone.

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