Lame: Apple Charging $0.30 Per Song To Ditch DRM

from the do-it-yourself dept

In the initial news about Apple going DRM-free, I saw it reported that Apple would let you convert your existing files to DRM-free. However, what was left out of the reports I saw (though, people in our comments pointed it out) was that Apple wants to charge you $0.30 for the privilege of getting rid of the DRM. Of course, you can just get rid of the DRM yourself if you don't mind going through the conversion process (though, even that's a bit of a pain). Either way, it's pretty lame to charge people to get rid of DRM. Why even offer that as an option? Are people really going to pay more?


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    Twinrova, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 4:19am

    Apple scores ANOTHER -200 on this move.

    I JUST added my comment to the Apple news regarding their pricing structure, now this?

    Yeah, I'm definitely glad I'm not a complete moron to support this company as others are.

    Karma, Steve. Enjoy your trips to the hospital.

     

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      mslade, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 6:53am

      Re: Apple scores ANOTHER -200 on this move.

      >> Karma, Steve. Enjoy your trips to the hospital.

      You're a monster. A large corporation wants to charge a whopping $0.30 so your spoiled ass can have music a little more conveniently -- music you can easily live without -- and you wish poor health on the company's CEO? You are vastly out of touch with reality.

      You might not be a moron (or might be, I don't know you), but you're a monster.

       

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        Twinrova, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 8:53am

        Re: Re: Apple scores ANOTHER -200 on this move.

        First, no where did I ever wish for Steve to be in poor health. I merely stated it was karma.

        As for calling me the monster, you had best understand what the hell you just read in the blog. Here, let me break it down for you:

        Steve Jobs: "Hey, consumer! Thanks for spending $0.99 each for all your songs, encoded with DRM. We've treated you like a criminal, and now we're going to screw you over again by charging you $0.30 per song to unlock your DRM tracks. Hey, it's the $1.29 we're after! How about that!"

        And you call me the monster?

        Thank you for that wonderful compliment.

         

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          mogilny, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:13am

          Re: Re: Re: Apple scores ANOTHER -200 on this move.

          Apple isn't solely at fault here. Won't be surprised that a chunk of the increase in price goes to the record companies.

           

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            Twinrova, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:42pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Apple scores ANOTHER -200 on this move.

            There mere fact Apple agreed to these terms puts them solely as the responsible party, regardless how the fees are distributed.

             

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      mrblanco, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:45am

      Re: Apple scores ANOTHER -200 on this move.

      this is generally a fair move. . .although we can all argue for a lower price for this service.

      in the first place i'm pretty sure its all the major studios that are those demanding drm on their music.

      in its early years itunes was a pioneering service and a step away from actually buying the CD. Sure piracy existed and those that wanted could bittorent, but Cd's was the mainstream way to get music. In putting music availible for download this concerned studios thinking it would make it much easier to pirate music and many people who wouldnt do this before, would just send the file to their friends. Hence itunes initially had drm.

      recently times have changed and the major studios are recognizing drm has no future, so they are much more amenable when apple and other companies want to offer drm free services.

      by allowing users to upgrade their music apple are doing them a favour, the price is there so only people who want it have it, if every single user upgraded their whole itunes library at once (with many users having 1000's of songs and hours of video) i'm pretty sure their servers would crash as that would be like everything ever download of itunes being re-downloaded in the space of a week.

      the studios have probs had a say in it as well, with regard to cost etc, apple may even be planning to raise the cost of stuff on itunes now it is drm free, and just kept the prices the same temporarily, so it doesn't rain over their drm-free party

      granted it has some apple spin and controllingness - -like not being able to upgrade individual songs - -- but hey, what can you expect?

       

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        crystalattice (profile), Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:57am

        Re: Re: Apple scores ANOTHER -200 on this move.

        I just thought about the cost being associated w/ redownloading the songs. Then I realized that the DRM is not part of the song; it's part of the iTunes client software. Therefore, you wouldn't have to redownload all of your songs or videos. Theoritically, Apple should just be sending a flag to your iTunes software indicating that the DRM is inactive for your media.

        Of course, that's how I would devise a simple fix. Who knows how Apple is really doing it and therefore justifying the 30 cents.

         

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          nasch, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 9:08am

          Re: Re: Re: Apple scores ANOTHER -200 on this move.

          No, the DRM is part of the song file. Otherwise you could use some other piece of software to play it without the DRM, which is not the case.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 11:41am

        Re: Re: Apple scores ANOTHER -200 on this move.

        Upgrading individual songs is possible. I don't have iTunes in front of me right now so I can't readily explain the process -- and yeah, it isn't readily apparent. But it is possible.

         

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        nasch, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 9:09am

        Re: Re: Apple scores ANOTHER -200 on this move.

        There are other ways to handle the problem of everyone upgrading at once, but charging for it is the simplest and most profitable, so of course that is the one they do. No surprise.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:45am

      Re: Apple scores ANOTHER -200 on this move.

      You may or may not not be a moron (judgement reserved for now), but you are definitely a horrible person for mocking someone's ill health. Yeah, let karma do its work as deserved.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:41pm

      Re: Apple scores ANOTHER -200 on this move.

      Yeah, I'm definitely glad I'm not a complete moron to support this company as others are.
      What a good boy. Want a treat? A candy bar for your effort?

      Karma, Steve. Enjoy your trips to the hospital.
      There's a difference between a business strategy and wishing someone dead. Twinrova, you may have Bad Juju yourself.

       

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    rwahrens (profile), Jan 7th, 2009 @ 4:32am

    on the other hand

    Why is it lame?

    The new songs are a higher bit rate, and what you are paying is the difference between the higher cost of the new version and what you paid originally for the old DRM'd lower bit rate version. At least you are getting some credit for what you already paid!

    If it were up to the RIAA, they'd make you pay the entire cost all over again, just for the privilege of getting a higher bit rate song.

    Geez, Apple finally dumps DRM, as folks have been clamoring for for years, and they still get dumped on. Can't make anybody happy.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Jan 7th, 2009 @ 4:55am

      Re: on the other hand

      It's an extortion charge. they locked up your content, now you have to pay them a ransom to unlock it. There's no technical reason why you can't just re-download the content you already bought for free . it would only cost Apple bandwidth, and that's a far sight cheaper than 30c / 5Mb. This is pure greed - whether on the part of iTunes or the RIAA I'm not sure.

      Yes, the higher bitrate is a bonus, and yes the RIAA would love to re-charge the whole song fee. It's still extortion though, and yet another reason why I'm glad I ignored any of these DRM-peddling idiots. Going forward, it's nice that Apple are removing DRM, but this is an absolutely anti-consumer move for which they're rightly being criticised.

       

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      Me myself and Itunes sucks, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 6:55am

      Re: on the other hand

      Umm wake up everyone.. They are overpriced to begin with. I buy all my music DRM free encoded @ 320Kbs, which is way better than anything itunes can offer, and you know how much the last sone cost me to buy? 27 cents! Thats right, 27 cents. Hmmmm under 30 cents a song or go with itunes because apple is the "cool" thing to do, and be smart and dont support any company like apple who charge around 99 cents a song. We as consumers need to shop smarter, instead of taking the easy way due to ignorance.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 7:05am

        Re: Re: on the other hand

        Care to clear up some of our ignorance and tell us where it is you buy 320kbps tracks for $0.27? If it's as convenient as iTunes but cheaper I'll happily take my business elsewhere.

         

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        marc, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:04am

        Re: Re: on the other hand

        Finally, a comment I agree with. Why is everyone obsessed with iTunes? Because the masses are asses, as long as the media keeps shoving brand names in your face you will buy it, even if it's a rip-off. 99 cents per song was always too much in my opinion, especially since you don't get the hard copy on cd that you can keep forever. I guess I'm alone in thinking when you pay money for something you should have it forever, without going through any of the b/s apple puts you through.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:29am

          Re: Re: Re: on the other hand

          I'm not 'obsessed' with iTunes, but I do like it. First and foremost because it's convenient. The same application that handily allows me to arrange and organize my music library and create playlists also just happens to connect to Apple's music store. And that store allows me pretty simple and flexible ways of searching for the music I'm interested in, something Walmart really fails at, and Amazon isn't much better. Songs I buy there are automatically added to my library (though Amazon has developed it's own shoehorn to get in there), and they've even started reudementary recommendations (which are at least no worse than Amazon).

          There are other music store out there, but none of them are well known, so most people don't even know where to begin looking. What's more, most such places have vastly limited selections -- not to say the bands they do have are bad, but if i hear a song on the radio and want to buy it, odds are better that I'll find it at iTunes rather than MP3Store.com. (I'll further note that neither of you have yet named your preferred iTunes alternative.)

          As for buying the CD... why? I haven't needed or wanted a CD in years. If I want something physical to last 'forever' (and get lost, scratched, and broken), I can pay about $0.15 and buy a blank CD to burn for myself. Or I can just back up my music on an external hard drive and manage it like every other piece of digital material I own.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:53am

          Re: Re: Re: on the other hand

          oooooh "the masses are asses" i'm so different and individual and more intelligent than all these stupid consumers.

          relevant quote:
          we can't make a difference until capitalism falls.
          but for now lets do some shopping to comfort ourselves.
          or somthing like that
          banksy

           

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      Mbeck, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 7:02am

      Chill!

      I agree with rwahrens! The deal is that you get a higher bit rate aac! They have to pay the record company for that and pay for bandwidth!

      Just because you think it should be free does not mean apple has to pay for it!

       

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      Kob9, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 8:07am

      Re: on the other hand

      Apple makes money either way.
      The Jobs' "manifesto" from a year ago about how upset he was that he couldn't sell DRM free music was complete BS. If he was a man of his own principles, he'd only sell DRM free music on iTunes, which of course would net zero support from major record labels, and make Apple's precious media strategy non-existent. Apple needs the RIAA more than anyone, so the notion that they are a true supporter of DRM free music is laughable. Giving consumers a choice between two types of music is one thing, but selling one format and then charging for an upgrade is another.

      I agree with tack's comment below....

       

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    Guillermo, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 5:03am

    All or nothing

    The worst part is that you can't choose which songs to upgrade: you have to upgrade all of them, or none of them.

     

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      bjc (profile), Jan 7th, 2009 @ 6:21am

      Re: All or nothing

      Wrong. Nice try.

       

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        Guillermo, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 10:33am

        Re: Re: All or nothing

        From the FAQ (emphasis mine):

        "Can I upgrade previously purchased music to iTunes Plus?

        Yes. Any available upgrades will be shown on the Upgrade My Library page (Music received for free is not eligible for upgrade). You can upgrade all music at one by using the Buy button. This replaces all music you've bought previously on iTunes with available iTunes Plus versions of the same music. You cannot choose which songs, music videos or albums to upgrade individually. Song updates are available for 30¢, video upgrades for 60¢, and albums for 30% of the album price. iTunes Plus music will continually be added to iTunes, so check back often to find new music available for upgrading."

         

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          DRM Koolaid, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 10:48am

          Re: Re: Re: All or nothing

          Jeez, all or nothing, what a rippoff! Well posted Guillermo.

          I see that if you have DRM infected tracks that you got for free you're stuck with them. Using [I]those[/I] will be a joy when the DRM servers are pulled. (gag)

           

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    DSeo, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 5:05am

    That gives me an idea

    What if they started charging higher amounts for higher bitrates? They could have good old 96 kbps for 99 cents and charge upwards of 5 dollars for 1 Mbps!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 5:42am

      Re: That gives me an idea

      Except that music is not even recorded in that high of a bitrate, but nice try.

       

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        Anon2, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 8:21am

        Re: Re: That gives me an idea

        HUH????? You could not be more wrong.

        Perhaps you are thinking of sample rate.

        But the bit rate of a musical recording done in a modern digital studio has a bit depth of 24, a sample rate of 96khz, and thus a bit rate of at least 4.4Mbps.

        That's why even FLAC and other "lossless" formats are still compressed formats. They just do so in a way that reduces the file size while trying to maintain sonic fidelity as best as possible.

         

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          Nicholas, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 8:25am

          Re: Re: Re: That gives me an idea

          FLAC is lossless, with regards to ripping/encoding from a CD. Perhaps you're meaning that CDs themselves are a lossy format, since studio recordings must be downmixed/engineered back down to 44/16 from the masters.

           

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            Anon2, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:54am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: That gives me an idea

            Yes, but I was responding to Anonymous Coward's reply to the original comment suggesting variable pricing based on bitrates. He suggested up to 1Mbps, and AnonCoward responded that music isn't recorded at such a rate. CD's, as you obviously know, are about 1.4Mbps, and I think some of the newer, fuller fixed media and digital formats are higher or capable of being higher(been a couple years since I had to know any of this).

            My point was just that music is recorded at extremly high bitrates. Even the numbers I cited (96/24), are not the outside limit, just what is commonly used. There are studios, and plenty of available gear and software used by musicians who do their own recording, that is done at 192/32, which I guess is useful for people who spend all their time in a recording or mastering studio, but I think that's more out of a concern for retaining sonic fidelity as the files go through the process(es).

            I think that's why SACD and DVD-A kind of fell flat -- 99.9% of people out there cannot possibly perceive any difference, it's so far beyond even the "psychoacoustic" outer reaches of the spectrum, and most home audio systems won't give you that range anyway.

             

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 8:26am

          Re: Re: Re: That gives me an idea

          Your math is a little wrong, but good try. Go steal some more music.

           

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    tack, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 5:12am

    really?

    Why is this such a big deal? The morons that wasted their money on itunes can just waste more. Meanwhile, arghh to the rest of ye.

     

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    PeterG, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 5:16am

    Who says it is all Apple?

    Apple likely had to negotiate the update fee with the major record labels (AKA RIAA).

    Don't forget it wasn't Apples idea to use DRM, the RIAA insisted. You can breath near music without paying these extortionists.

    Remember the reaction when Jobs first insisted he would like to get rid of DRM back when it was DRM everywhere. Half the major record labels said Never. Microsofts ZUNE mouthpiece said Jobs was nuts...

    Yet here we are today...

    BTW I don't own any Apple products and my MP3 player is a Sandisk. I just think the knee jerk Apple hating gets old after a while.

     

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    Maniac in a Speedo'd, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 5:23am

    fashionable

    Look at all the fashionable people bashing Apple. You're all so hip.

     

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      EVIL_BASTARD, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 6:19am

      Re: fashionable

      I've been unfashionable and making fun of apple kool aid drinking fanboys for ever, nothing new here. Always made fun of the meat heads who bought DRM'd music too.

      It basically comes down to what PaulT said, you already paid for the music. this is liking bringing in a car under warranty and having to pay for a 1/3 the car again.

      - to the apologists, bashing apple does not mean they are letting the RIAA off the hook, they suck much more than apple ever could.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 7:08am

        Re: Re: fashionable

        this is liking bringing in a car under warranty and having to pay for a 1/3 the car again.

        Except, there is no warranty on music.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 5:29am

    This is what they've been doing with iTunes Plus. Originally, iTunes Plus was higher bitrate, DRM-free, and $1.29. The extra $0.30 broght the total paid (0.99 + 0.30) to the $1.29 price point. When they changed iTunes Plus tracks to $0.99, they continued to charge the $0.30 for 'upgrading' previously-purchaced songs. It's not surprising that they'd keep the practice despite the fact that everything is "iTunes Plus" now.

     

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    AJ, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 5:35am

    Funny?

    It seems only the people that are not pirates are having problems. I can't decide if this is funny or not....

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 5:41am

      Re: Funny?

      "It seems only the people that are not pirates are having problems"

      Replace "not pirates" by "gullible consumers", and we'll agree.

      But wait - aren't "gullible" and "consumer" pretty much the same thing? I really hate being labelled a consumer...

       

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    Chris, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 5:44am

    Requiem

    Use requiem for lossless conversion of your itunes drm'ed songs. Lossless in that you don't lose quality, not that its FLAC or ALAC.

    I wonder, Apple used to let you redownload everything if there was a critical failure on your end and you lost everything. So now if you do it, would the songs be downloaded in Itunes Plus format? I wonder if that would be a way to get around the $.30 DRM tax.

     

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    bjc (profile), Jan 7th, 2009 @ 6:26am

    There are existing tools to unlock iTunes tracks. Google it if it is worth the trouble for you.

    I think 30 cents is a reasonable price to pay for much higher quality sound.

    No one has mentioned what else this change does for Apple:
    -suddenly everyone's music files are twice as big. An iPod that held 1000 songs now holds 500, giving people more reasons to upgrade their iPods
    -DRM-free music means that the iTunes store is now available for anyone using any recent music player. That opens a huge new market for iTunes.

    As an Apple investor I am happy about this!

     

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    TPBer, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 6:27am

    Why pay at all?

    Anybody who actually pays for music is a complete moron who needs to be separated from their money anyway. Thankfully there are many and I will always have plenty of work, what a wonderful world.

     

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    Ima Fish, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 6:32am

    Mike, just last week you wrote (correctly) that mobile carriers can charge whatever they want for texting, and as long as consumers are willing to pay, there's nothing wrong with it.

    Now you're taking the opposite position that Apple should not charge whatever it wants. I say you were right the first time, if people are willing to pay 30 cents to get rid of DRM on their music collection, let Apple charge it.

     

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    Michial, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 6:34am

    Bitch and Moan

    Do you ever stop crying and moaning about the way the world works?

    For years you bitched and moaned about having DRM in the first place, then you get your wish and DRM is going away and now you are bitching and moaning because Apple expects to be compensated for the bandwidth of downloading the shit a second time.

    You bitch because the music industry expects to be compensated for the thousands that they spend on sound studios, recording and editing, and researching and bringing the talent to market. You bitch that you have to pay for the music that has been edited and recorded, and now you bitch that you have to pay to get the DRM free versions...

    Your whining gets old...

     

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      Monarch, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 6:55am

      Re: Bitch and Moan

      I wouldn't call it whining, I'd call it logical thinking. People that bitch and moan about Mike is getting real old real fast. Please quit reading TechDirt Michial. Or a least quit posting trolling comments, that make those of us that think with rationality get a raise in our blood pressure, wanting to bonk your kind over the head with a Donkey Kong hammer.

       

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        mslade, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 7:02am

        Re: Re: Bitch and Moan

        I thought the point of a 'comments' feature was to allow debate and discussion. Or are these comments supposed to be limited to a pool of like-minded individual patting themselves on the back for agreeing with each other? When did disagreement become a *bad* thing? When did debate stop being the thing that results in more enlightenment and wisdom of the masses?

        If people who don't think like you do raise your blood pressure... well... maybe stop scrolling past the articles and reading the comments.

         

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        Elton John, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 5:45pm

        Re: Re: Bitch and Moan

        Sort of funny, they've had enough of Mike's bitching and moaning, yet they're still reading TechDirt. Sounds like they've been living under a bridge too long...

         

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      PaulT (profile), Jan 7th, 2009 @ 7:12am

      Re: Bitch and Moan

      Yet, you continue to visit the site and read it...

      You really do make yourself sound like an idiot, let's see why:

      "For years you bitched and moaned about having DRM in the first place, then you get your wish and DRM is going away and now you are bitching and moaning because Apple expects to be compensated for the bandwidth of downloading the shit a second time."

      It's quite simple. This is a blog that comments on news stories. Many people (Mike included, I believe, as well as myself) have stated *from the very beginning* that DRM would not work. It's anti-consumer and does nothing to stop piracy.

      So, when stories appeared about DRM being implemented, Mike and other bloggers point out how it's dumb and would not work. This continues for many years, with fools like yourself attacking Mike as foolish and/or pro-piracy for pointing out the obvious failings of DRM.

      Now that the dust is clearing and DRM is finally disappearing, profiteers like Apple are charging consumers extra *for the product they should have been sold in the first place*. Instead of being given full access to their own music, there is an extortion charge. That's wrong, I don't see how people like you can support being charged twice for the same product.

      "You bitch because the music industry expects to be compensated for the thousands that they spend on sound studios, recording and editing, and researching and bringing the talent to market."

      No, the blog entries here are always supporting the music industry's right to make a profit. What they attack is the *methods* by which they do it. Please re-read the articles on the music industry to avoid sounding like a fool, because you have just claimed that Mike believes the exact opposite of what he has continually stated.

      The actions of the music industry are rightly criticised aa counter-productive. Nobody criticises the idea that they should make money, only the idea that they have some kind of right to do so without adapting to the modern world.

      "You bitch that you have to pay for the music that has been edited and recorded, and now you bitch that you have to pay to get the DRM free versions."

      Yes, exactly right. Again, the customer has been presented with an artificially restricted file. It should cost nothing to unlock that file, yet Apple are re-charging 1/3 of the original fee to remove their restrictions. It's extortion. As you say, the music has already been edited and recorded. Ignoring the higher bitrate (Apple could surely provide the same bitrate free of charge?), the only difference between the DRM and DRM-free file is the DRM. No further editing or recording is required, so why do they get to receive a 30% tax?

       

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      Mike (profile), Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:43am

      Re: Bitch and Moan

      Do you ever stop crying and moaning about the way the world works?

      It's not "crying and moaning." It's pointing out things that are unfair so that people recognize it. Would you prefer that people shut up and pretend everything is good when it's not?

      For years you bitched and moaned about having DRM in the first place, then you get your wish and DRM is going away and now you are bitching and moaning because Apple expects to be compensated for the bandwidth of downloading the shit a second time.

      We didn't "wish" DRM would go away, we pointed out that it was damaging and simply would naturally go away eventually. That has nothing to do with Apple's decision.

      You bitch because the music industry expects to be compensated for the thousands that they spend on sound studios, recording and editing, and researching and bringing the talent to market.

      We have done *NO* such thing. We complain about the industry choosing a bad business model. We have no problem that they expect to be compensated. We're just letting them know they're doing it wrong.

      You bitch that you have to pay for the music that has been edited and recorded, and now you bitch that you have to pay to get the DRM free versions...

      No. We're not bitching that "we have to pay." We're pointing out that they're using a really bad model that only pisses people off.

      Is it really THAT difficult to mentally process the difference?

       

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        DRM Koolaid, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:51am

        Re: Re: Bitch and Moan

        Mike, very well said.

        I don't know how you managed to stay so restrained. :)

        Perhaps this poster is just a troll, I dunno.

        Yes, Apple and the RIAA and it's members (not the whole music industry) are extorting money from the plebs that bought this DRM shit in the first place. Period.

        Don't ever stop exposing the corruption in big business and government.

         

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    Nathania, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 6:35am

    I'm going to keep paying 99 cents per mp3 at Amazon, something I've been doing for months now.

    They have a bit of downloadable software that even loads your purchases into iTunes.

    So, why I'm expected to switch to iTunes at this point baffles me.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 6:53am

    Your whining gets old...

    Whining always gets old. I'm tired of hearing about how much it costs for the RIAA to bring music to market. Any musician can do it relatively cheaply now, with the exception of advertising and promotion.

     

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    mslade, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 6:58am

    I'm not an Apple fan (at all) but...

    ...why is it that when I read this story from two other news sources it was described as a pricing structure ranging from $0.69 to $1.29, all without DRM, with the record labels choosing the price of their own songs? It was explained that Apple gave the record labels the right to choose their own pricing in order to negotiate removal of DRM. There's an important conflict between this article and what I read, which is that *all* tiers will become DRM free, even the $0.69 ones.

    Can any object iTunes-savvy individuals clear this up for us?

     

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      SomeGuy, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 7:15am

      Re: I'm not an Apple fan (at all) but...

      Not exactly sure if you meant to reply to this post or the last one (which talked about the new pricing structure). This post is referring to the fact that if you have previously purchaced music from iTunes (which would have DRM), they're charging you $0.30 more (on top of the $0.99 you already paid) to 'upgrade' the files you already bought to the 'new' DRM-free version. This has nothing to do with the new $0.69 or $1.29 pricing.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 7:24am

      Re: I'm not an Apple fan (at all) but...

      reading comprehension is the only skill needed here. Techdirt also reported on the price range, which is for new songs. this story is about converting old songs that are drm laden.

       

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    Coolridge, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 6:59am

    Not a big deal

    The songs are better quality and free of the initial DRM constraints. Without Apple's work to bring digital music to the fair market there would be no legal digital download service still. They stood up to the RIAA to make iTunes happen and though I sympathize, you anti-DRM fanatics stopped looking at reality at the same time as the RIAA. Apple built a structure that the companies were forced to live with in hopes to reduce illegal downloads.

    Now that the market has taken off and everyone is a little more secure with the concept of digital music files they need to charge more to get rid of the DRM in order to stay in compliance with their contracts that allow them access to the music libraries that they currently have. There's nothing unsavory about this at all. It makes total sense and I appreciate everything they've done to make this industry happen including this.

     

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    Guy Rintoul, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 7:17am

    How long before they shut DRM servers down?

    Call me a cynic, but how long will it be before Apple follows Microsoft's PlaysForSure lead and closes down their DRM servers, forcing ALL consumers to pay to "upgrade" so that they can keep their music, or otherwise lose all the DRM'd tracks they've bought?

     

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      Guy Rintoul, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 7:24am

      Re: How long before they shut DRM servers down?

      Sorry, should have been more specific - am talking about Google Video closing down their DRM servers (which I think were PlaysForSure-based?) thus leaving people with a bunch of useless videos.

       

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      hegemon13, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 7:33am

      Re: How long before they shut DRM servers down?

      This was my first thought. Not only do you have the option to go DRM free, but you will probably have no choice within the next year or two. Apple will shut down their servers, and you will then have to decide prior to the shutdown whether to shell out an extra $.30 per song or lose it forever. What a rip-off.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 7:23am

    kinda
    lame considering you can set up programs to do it all for you for free,
    or that it actually costs money to implement the DRM and maintain the
    verification servers and it is actually cheaper for iTunes to serve
    their music DRM free (which is why Walmart, yahoo, and microsoft all
    want to or have killed their DRM servers). By upgrading to DRM free
    versions of the songs you own you are doing apple a favor so that they
    can shut down their servers (or convert them to a new purpose) sooner
    and yet they want you to pay for the privilege of helping them.

     

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    Overcast, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 7:25am

    Apple should be glad they have a fanatical following of some people.... If not for that, they wouldn't have any customer's at all.

     

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    Doc, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 7:32am

    Itunes

    Why bother with I-tunes music store? I mean Amazon's MP3 store in DMR free and is just as good and the music is a higher bit rate. Of course for people who like their music a little less entangled with the RIAA and the bland garbage put out by the major labels there is E-Music. Seriously why worry about how much I-tunes music store is charging the only people using it are 12 year old girls, people too stupid to use anything else, and the super uber apple fan-boys who are too blind to see anything else.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 10:02am

      Re: Itunes

      Doc, itunes plus tracks are the same bit rate as Amazon except they are AAC instead of mp3. AAC uses better compression while taking up less space.

       

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    Thanatos, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 7:41am

    Update the firmwares to handle flac, send me a flac for 1.29 (sans drm, of course) and I'll be very happy :D - but i'll be asking for too much though.

     

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    acruxksa, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 8:13am

    Amazon Music is DRM free

    That's why I've been using Amazon for the last year, it's cheaper, better quality AND DRM free. What's not to like?

     

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    Nicholas, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 8:24am

    The core of the problem is what you're paying for.

    Are you actually paying for the SONG or the bytes that make up a song? Are you paying for the quality level, etc?

    It's all a big scam. If you bought a song, you bought it. End of story. Regardless of if they shipped you a lower quality version in the first place, you should be able to get that higher quality version for free (or the actual cost it takes for them to send it to you.)

    Keep in mind I'm talking strictly digital delivery here, where it literally costs them nothing to give you a higher quality/non-DRM'd product. At least, not .30

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:35am

      Re:

      I'm... pretty sure you're buying the bits... I mean, you don't *OWN* the song. That's kind of a silly idea, owning a song...

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Lars UltraRich, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 5:54pm

        Re: Re:

        No, you're not buying the bits, you're buying the rights to personal use of the song. No matter what format you bought it in. If you bought an LP with the song on it, you own the rights to it. If you bought a cassette, 8-track, or CD, you already own the rights, no matter what the RIAA might try and tell you.

         

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        Nicholas, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 6:11pm

        Re: Re:

        If I buy a CD, do I own the CD? Or the rights to listen to those songs?

        Do I have a legal right to back up a CD to MP3/MP4 format if I want to, for my own personal use?

        Ask questions..

         

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        •  
          identicon
          a, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 7:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Nicholas, you own the physical CD and have a limited license to use that CD for your own personal use. That includes the right to convert to MP3/MP4 format for your computer and portable player. You may also resell the CD itself. You can play it for your friends, but you can't make them copies, nor can you stream it on the internet without paying a public performance licensing royalty. That's pretty much as far as it goes under current copyright law.

           

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          •  
            identicon
            btb, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 2:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Well "a" you forgot one thing with the current copyright laws... while you cannot make a copy for your friends (i.e. distribute) you CAN make a backup copy for your safety. The way some people treat CD/DVD's everyone should make a copy to put on the shelf so they don't have to re-buy the CD/DVD when it is scratch or broken.

             

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    identicon
    Ben, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 8:32am

    DRM fees

    If DRM and DRM free tunes are available simultaneously, and the DRM free is significantly higher, anticipating a low popularity for the DRM free tunes, wouldn't that give apple a reason to claim, "see DRM free music just isn't worth it to people."?

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:38am

      Re: DRM fees

      You misread it. This only applies to music you already bought in DRM form. They charge $0.30 to 'update' the file you have. I don't believe they're selling DRM'd songs where they have DRM-free versions. if you wanted, you could re-purchase the song at $0.99 instead, but that'd be kind of dumb. You can also find a free converter/stripper and make the change yourself.

       

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    identicon
    James, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 8:34am

    This isn't lame

    I'm no fan of Apple, or the iPod.. I'm a rebel in the sense that I've never supported their locked-down software/hardware model, BUT.. this is the merely the free market at work.

    If the market will support this kind of a fee per song, then let them be. If the sheeple refuse to look for better player/music options then so be it. And besides, as it was noted, you have always been able to get around their DRM by burning a CD and converting it back to an MP3.

     

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    identicon
    Tony, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 8:54am

    Paying more

    "Are people really going to pay more?"

    Yes. You might not, but the average person probably will, and will think it's pretty cool that they can get DRM-free music.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Sea Man, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:01am

    Hmmm...

    So let me get this straight.

    The people that were stupid enough to buy music with DRM now have the opportunity to mend their erroneous ways and their music collection for a pittance, and now they are complaining that they have to pay to undo their own stupidity?

    But of course it takes no resources to remove the DRM, right? And I'm sure that the music companies are not riding Apple on this one for a cut of the $0.30, right? And I'm sure it would be totally worth the extreme pain in the ass to waste your own time doing the conversion manually, right?

    Listen you whiny bitches, you made the mistake of purchasing music with DRM, and now you have the opportunity to correct that mistake for practically nothing. Just quit your bitching and do it, and then thank Apple for giving you the opportunity to do what you have been asking for for years.

     

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    identicon
    Michael Long, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 9:21am

    Stupid Car Analogy

    "...this is liking bringing in a car under warranty and having to pay for a 1/3 the car again. ..."

    Actually, you're trading up to the brand new '09 model, with more capabilities and twice the quality level.

    Besides, if people had large iTunes libraries then, for the most part, their music was working for them... and still does. Upgrading is simply an option.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 11:01am

      Re: Stupid Car Analogy

      "Actually, you're trading up to the brand new '09 model, with more capabilities and twice the quality level."

      Only now imagine that the new model and all it's features don't cost the dealer anything...not only to create the new model, but actually giving it to you doesn't reduce any of his "stock". I know I would be saying "Why am I paying for this...why would you not just give me this new model, because I have bought several hundred of these and plan on buying many more"

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Lars UltraRich, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 5:58pm

      Re: Stupid Car Analogy

      No, this is still the same old model, no more capabilities, and since when are song licenses based upon the quality of the recording? This is like taking your car back to the dealer so they can disconnect a 5-mile chain that limited where you wanted to go in your car and when, and charging you to remove it.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Tony, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 10:33am

    Cost for DRM-Free

    Why is everyone making such a BIG DEAL over this? Most people who DON'T want DRM Music in their iTunes music collection probably DON'T have any, since they get their music from other DRM-free sources. And those that have a collection with a lot of DRM music, don't really care whether it has DRM or not. Otherwise they probably wouldn't have bought it with DRM. I think it's great that Apple is giving people the opportunity to "upgrade" to DRM-free, even if there is a cost. 99% of my collection is DRM free, however there were a few songs that at some point where exclusive to iTunes, so I had no choice but to get them with DRM. But now I have the opportunity to "upgrade" them, so I did and it only cost me $6.90. As for using iTunes over Amazon now that they are both DRM free, I will go to whichever site has the lowest price for the particular song I'm looking to purchase. It's just a few clicks of my mouse. It's not like I have to drive across town to compare prices.

     

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    Mark Rosedale (profile), Jan 7th, 2009 @ 10:43am

    FYI not MP3 format

    FYI the Apple offering isn't in MP3 format. They will still be using their own AAC format. Not a major deal and without the DRM you can easily encode AAC to MP3 with a click of the button, but industry standard seems to be MP3.

     

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      identicon
      Guillermo, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 11:31am

      Re: FYI not MP3 format

      For what it's worth, AAC is not "their own" format. It wasn't invented by Apple and it's not controlled by them or any other company. While MP3 is a de facto standard, AAC is an ISO and IEC standard, part of the MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 specification. (Source.)

       

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        identicon
        DanC, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 6:38pm

        Re: Re: FYI not MP3 format

        While MP3 is a de facto standard, AAC is an ISO and IEC standard, part of the MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 specification.

        Probably should point out that the MP3 format (MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3) is also an ISO and IEC standard.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Jesse, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 10:54am

    Aren't you allowed to redownload songs you've paid for? I don't get it...can't you just re-download a non-DRM version of your song?

     

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    identicon
    RIAA Tester, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 10:56am

    Erm, you do realize that the pricing is controlled by the labels, right? The entire DRM fiasco was at the insistence of the labels. The tiered pricing is at the insistence of the labels. I'm not an Apple fan, but let's place blame where it belongs: with the RIAA.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 11:41am

    Try Going DRM with some of the over services out there.

    Hahahaha!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 11:42am

    Try Going DRM=Free with some of the over services out there.

    Hahahaha!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anon2, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 11:50am

    I agree with Mike and the others here who point out that $0.30 per track for removing the DRM is extremely high, for exactly the same reasons Mike laid out in his post on the text message pricing controversy. I have no idea what is driving it, whether it's demands by the labels, or is something Apple came up with, or both. But I bet a lot of people will pay the fee, because most are just too lazy, or perhaps truly unsophisticated, to take five or ten minutes to learn the other ways to accomplish this.

    I guess I should amend that. Some percentage of the people who do this via Apple are those who value their time highly. For them, it's economically rational to pay for the service, same as a lot of other services people choose to pay for.

    Personally, I don't care. Almost everything I have is in one or another 'lossless' format, and what I convert to lossy compressed files are things I either don't care much about, or just want to check out a couple tracks to see if I like that artist's stuff enough to want more and in a better quality format. But at home, I don't stream compressed files, and that's where I do most of my real music listening. And with storage getting cheaper and cheaper, there's really no need for me to bother at all anymore with lossy files. Most people I know who insist on having every track they own on their portable player, never even listen to 95% of what's on it; most don't even know half of what they have on it. I'd rather put fatter files on mine, and just change it up once in a while to keep things fresh.

     

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    identicon
    Michael Langford, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:05pm

    LMFOA!

    You people actually use itunes? Do you think your supporting the artists or something? You do know that if they want any of the money they have to take RIAA to court to get it, and even then will never likely see a dime? Don't be fooled by this BS, go get frostwire, and an mp3 player that is priced correctly (non-apple) and you will not have to worry about any of this.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:25pm

    Understanding that Apple is not a 501(c)(3) Charity...

    ...what other alternative should be used? I mean, as of June 2008, over 5,000,000,000 songs have been bought and downloaded from iTunes. Should everyone be entitled to re-download them for free? Who gets stuck paying for bandwidth?

    Besides, after credit card processing fees and any miscellaneous licensing fees levied by the record companies (Admit it- surely there are some), it's possible that Apple collects only 5¢ to 7¢ to cover the bandwidth, which isn't bad to ensure consistent iTunes experience. But overall, 30¢ seems like a reasonable price to pay for those who desire to extend the ability to play their music beyond what was originally-agreed upon when iTunes Users originally bought the song. Face it, as the Music Distribution model is changing, the technology is changing too. At least they offer the option.

    I don't get the hatred for Apple here. I mean, when they dropped the price of the iPhone, they passed out $100 vouchers. Name another technology company that stands up for their customers like that, and is that fair.
    [Waits Anxiously]

     

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    identicon
    Jeano, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 5:09pm

    Better

    Its better than re-purchasing tracks for the full price!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Woz, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 5:39pm

    Look, Steve needs expensive hormone therapy. Somebody's got to pay for it, somehow. We can't jack up the computer prices anymore, but we figure at $0.30 per tune, the iDiots will be more than happy to. It's not like they can go somewhere else to buy their tunes, is it?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 10:44pm

    You can buy iTunes Music and play it on your Zune Now!

    Zune supports AAC.

    This is great for someone who changes to Zune from iPod!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    His Shadow, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 11:32pm

    More of the Same

    Twinrova - Jan 7th, 2009 @ 12:42pm There mere fact Apple agreed to these terms puts them solely as the responsible party, regardless how the fees are distributed.

    Stunning insight, Bozo. I suppose the mere fact that gas stations sell gas makes them solely responsible for the price of gas.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Micke, Jan 8th, 2009 @ 5:43am

    DRM

    Yet, another typical money grab by Apple.

    Let's look at iTunes largest competitor, eMusic.

    Offers DRM-free music since its launch, and you can download an "already" purchased song as many times as you like without repaying for it.

    Please explain to me where this makes sense? Yes we are getting a higher "quality" song, but the real question is, are these just 190 converted up, or are they recorded at 320?

    Yes, their DRM is easily bypassed, but why force your user base to upgrade all of their music. This is ludicrous, I agree it is the best move, but it just seems like another one of Apple's marketing ploys.

    "Please, we don't want DRM, but since it will make us lots of money - we will use it - and when the time comes, we can get rid of it and make even more money... muhahaha"

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Victimized by itunes, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 7:40pm

    iTunes is a bastard wen I gave it my account nber they started charging me for ananymis things FUK ITUNES THEY CAN GO SUK A FLAMMING HEMOROID INFESTED COK FROM HELL WIF MOLDY FECES AND PUBIC LICE ON IT AFTER IT WAS CRAMED IN HITTLERS ASSHOLE

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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