Apple to Drop DRM on iTunes, Adopt Variable Pricing Scheme

Apple announced today at the MacWorld convention in San Francisco that it would be dropping Digital Rights Media on iTunes music downloads. What this means is you are no longer forced to use iTunes as your media player for your (legally) downloaded musical content.

If you want to retroactively 'upgrade' your purchased music by removing DRM restrictions, you have to pay $0.30 per song. Yes. You must pay for every song you have previously purchased in order to bail it out of the iTunes jail. The alternative, of course, is to do what people have been doing for quite some time and acquire an application that jailbreaks your music for you.

As far as new content, things are a little more hopeful for those of us who live life outside the Top 40: there will be new pricing 'tiers' at $0.69, $0.99, and $1.29 per song, and it will be up to the discretion of the labels who own the music to decide how much to charge for a given artist/album. Hopefully this results in the lower tier for 'new' artist music on iTunes, because sometimes looking for torrents is too much work and I just want to pay for the damn album.

Finally, iTunes will now be available for iPhone users over AT&Ts 3G network. This feature was previously only available with a wifi connection.

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