“Apple Inc. unveiled significant pricing and copyright changes to its iTunes Store, moves by the dominant online music seller that could spur similar action across the industry,” Ethan Smith and Yukari iwatani Kane report for The Wall Street Journal.
“The changes, announced at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco Tuesday, include a new three-tiered pricing plan for songs [$0.69, $0.99, $1.29), instead of the 99-cents fixed price Apple has used almost exclusively. Apple also said it will drop copy protection from all of the songs in its digital store,” Smith and Kane report.
“Some of Apple’s moves appear to be a response in part to shifts in the digital-music market. Growth in paid downloads slowed significantly in 2008, rising 27%, compared with a 45% increase a year earlier, according to Nielsen Co.’s SoundScan service,” Smith and Kane report.
“The moves by Apple could prompt others in the online music industry to also explore new ways to sell music. Apple last year surpassed Wal-Mart Stores Inc. as the world’s largest music retailer. Digital-music retailers in the U.S. sold more than one billion songs in 2008. Apple said it has sold six billion songs since the iTunes Store launched in 2003,” Smith and Kane report.
“Apple’s DRM has made it complicated for iTunes customers to use competitors’ products, like SanDisk Corp. music players or Microsoft Corp.’s Zune. Among the limits imposed by the software locks, it is difficult or impossible to play songs purchased from the iTunes Store on devices other than the iPod or iPhone,” Smith and Kane report.
MacDailyNews Take: Sheesh. Once again, iTunes Store songs play on iTunes for Windows; meaning all Windows PCs, including laptops. And, they also play on Motorola’s ROKR phone, for that matter. In addition, iTunes music tracks have always been burnable to CD, thereby removing Apple’s FairPlay DRM. Such CDs can then be reimported for use in any other device that accepted files imported from standard music CDs. Furthermore, iTunes Store music tracks have always been playable on multiple computers. Finally, since April 2007, Apple has been selling DRM-free music (from EMI).
Smith and Kane continue without any further errors in their full article here.