DRM-free ‘iTunes Plus’ tracks from Universal, Warner, SonyBMG appear in Apple’s iTunes Store

“The long-standing duel between Apple and three major labels, Universal, Warners and Sony BMG may be coming to an end, with tracks from these majors now showing up within the iTunes Plus music upgrade service,” Jonny Evans reports for Distorted-Loop.

“Sony BMG is already thought to be uploading tracks to make available through iTunes Plus,” Evans reports.

MacDailyNews Note: Several MacDailyNews readers report buying iTunes Plus DRM-free tracks from Warner, Universal, and SonyBMG within the past 24-hours.

Evans continues, “Overnight sundry spies have spotted tracks from the three hold-out majors popping up in the ‘Upgrade My Library’ section of iTunes, where users can upgrade their purchases from DRM’d to DRM-free tracks.”

Full article here.

All we need now is the press release. In the meantime, go hunt for your DRM-free tracks now!

45 Comments

  1. The credit crunch and economic downturn can claim the credit for this one.

    What I will wait to see is if they stand by iTunes Plus after the economy recovers in future.

    I still think that they are greedy bastards! they are using iTunes to cut back their costs in order to line their pockets whilst shafting starving artists off their royalty dues.

  2. When EMI went DRM-free, their track prices were bumped up to $1.29, but then later dropped back down to $0.99. I upgraded the tracks I had immediately, but was pissed off to find that the price dropped not long after and I wouldn’t have had to pay anything additional.
    It looks like the same pattern might be taking place with Universal, Warner, and Sony BMG as well. The upgrade price is $0.20 per track. I think I’ll wait a while and see if that holds or if they decide to drop back to $0.99 like EMI.

  3. aldebaran,

    if i go to “upgrade my library” the upgraded tracks are $.30 each but visiting the indiviual albums, the “plus” tracks are only $.99. In other words, they are still charging the $.30 upgrade even though buying the track now for the first time would only cost $.99.

  4. @rip off – Think of it as a software version upgrade. Say I buy Panic’s Transmit version 2 for $29, and use it (listen to it) for six months. Then they release version 3 with improvements that I want (DRM-free and higher bitrate). It costs me $10 to upgrade. However, if I had never bought it and was buying it for the first time, version 3 would cost me — $29.

    Now, you can also call that a rip-off, but it’s the way that most software upgrades work. The ability to upgrade to iTunes Plus fits all the criteria of a software upgrade, at least to me.

  5. They are charging you to upgrade because the new tracks are now better quality. You can think of it this way: the value (price) of your original, DRM-infested, 128kbps track has dropped to about $0.69, and in order to get the full DRM-free track, you have to pay additional $0.30.

    If this is true and consistent, that means that the labels (and most importantly, Universal) have caved and crawled back to Steve. And Steve was generous enough and said to them: “Ok, you can come back now and play with us, but you must promise to behave”.

    I’m thinking that the lack of a press release may be the only concession that Steve had to make in order to get them back, so that the labels could avoid embarrassment of crawling back (or so they hope). As we all know, the cat will very quickly get out of the bag and, if this turns out to be consistent across the board, it will come out very, very quickly.

    It’s ironic, though, that, as much as labels have been kicking and screaming, this will end up making their year (or at least holiday season).

  6. Well, it’s good to see that iTunes had joined the crowd, led by Amazon No, seriously. Given the choice, it’s a lot easier to purchase songs directly from within iTunes than using Amazon’s website and having to load into iTunes. Of course that’s only because iTunes won’t monitor folders.

    Now if only they’d drop the price to $0.79 for some tracks.

  7. At the same time, Predrag, Apple haters will argue that Steve Jobs was the one forced to add more DRM-free music, dragged kicking and screaming because FairPlay is one of the important pieces of maintaining the iPod/iTunes “monopoly.” Therefore he was the one who didn’t want a press release or announcement at an event.

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