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froth
2009-01-06, 14:29
I see today Apple announced that by the end of March 2009 all their songs will be available DRM free. That is a nice step in the right direction. Now if we could only get the downloads in something that is not compressed and not just MP3.

Luke Redpath
2009-01-06, 14:50
Aren't they AAC files? I thought they were better than MP3 at the same bitrate.

Personally, I don't have high-end expensive hifi equipment so I can't really tell the difference between a 256kbps+ MP3/AAC file and an uncompressed file maybe 90% of the time.

Amazon is still cheaper though.

Mark Miksis
2009-01-06, 15:05
I see today Apple announced that by the end of March 2009 all their songs will be available DRM free.

Very interesting. I'm not an iTunes user, but I wonder if there will be any mechanism for users to convert previously purchased DRM files to non-DRM.

andyg
2009-01-06, 15:10
You can 'upgrade' existing purchases to iTunes Plus but you have to pay an extra $0.30 per track.

Mark Miksis
2009-01-06, 15:43
You can 'upgrade' existing purchases to iTunes Plus but you have to pay an extra $0.30 per track.

I guess that's not too bad. It would be better if it were free, but I have to admit that it sounds like Apple is starting to get it. Now I just wish there was a place where I could buy flacs of major releases.

jordanhl
2009-01-06, 16:24
Since iTunes is going DRM-free does that mean that all iTunes songs (purchased after March '09 and/or "upgrading" my library) will be compatible with the Squeezebox?

radish
2009-01-06, 20:43
Since iTunes is going DRM-free does that mean that all iTunes songs (purchased after March '09 and/or "upgrading" my library) will be compatible with the Squeezebox?

Yes, assuming your SC install is setup for AAC playback. Windows requires QuickTime to be installed, Mac works out of the box and Linux requires some tinkering (see http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.php/AAC).

iPhone
2009-01-06, 21:36
I see today Apple announced that by the end of March 2009 all their songs will be available DRM free. That is a nice step in the right direction. Now if we could only get the downloads in something that is not compressed and not just MP3.

WOW, it took long enough. But greed and losing some market share to Amazon finally killed Apple DRM. Will DRM free songs after March 2009 be more expensive then current DRM songs? If not, I smell a big Class Action Law Suit for some law firm. "Yeah I already bought this DRM tune for X and now your selling it DRM free for less then I had to pay for locked music!".

kmr
2009-01-06, 22:31
But greed and losing some market share to Amazon finally killed Apple DRM.

Actually, Apple has been trying to get rid of DRM for a couple of years now, but the labels wouldn't go along with it (except some of EMI) because they were trying to wring concessions out of Apple, specifically variable pricing. Looks like Apple finally decided that the tradeoff was worth it.

talbotpat
2009-01-06, 22:50
Hopefully the variable pricing will be a bust and the market will settle out at $.99 per track. Competition has been a good thing and we are seeing the benefits first hand with Fairplay going by the boards..good for the labels and good for Apple in finally making it happen. Looking forward to the whole iTunes library being DRM free at the end of the quarter.

pablolie
2009-01-07, 00:15
Actually, Apple has been trying to get rid of DRM for a couple of years now, but the labels wouldn't go along with it (except some of EMI) because they were trying to wring concessions out of Apple, specifically variable pricing. Looks like Apple finally decided that the tradeoff was worth it.

I don't buy the "Apple are always the good guys making the best products" hype. It was easy enough for Amazon MP3 to challenge, I think iTunes milked the Apple underdog card long enough.

I think iTunes is a horrible product - as a music management system it is very constricting and shows that Apple wants to control users more zealosuly than Microsoft ever has, while providing questionable value add in return. My wife swears by her iPhone and iPod - I prefer my Blackberry Bold and a regular MP3 player by eons because they are far more open to be managed with more competent and flexible software.

And I am surprised I always seem to be so alone in this - Apple products still have a "cool" that the Apple corporate philosophy no longer warrants, in my opinion. I just don't see the clear superiority of the concept, and find the walled garden approach too constricting.

pfarrell
2009-01-07, 00:25
talbotpat wrote:
> Hopefully the variable pricing will be a bust and the market will settle
> out at $.99 per track.

Why do you think variable pricing is bad? Seems to me that songs are
variable, so variable pricing would be good. Perhaps not set well, which
would require competition in the Apple iTunes store, but that's a
separate issue.

I could see a business model where more popular songs, say the newest
release of a popular star/group would be more expensive than an older
release.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

talbotpat
2009-01-07, 00:51
Songs are variable and therefore variable pricing is good...has an Animal Farm type of meter...I like that.

I understand the concept of 'flexible' pricing...and also get that the labels/artists may gravitate toward a higher price for new and/or popular releases. I'm not saying it's bad per se, only that I would rather see a fixed price model as Apple has advocated and lobbied for from the labels over the years. It's primarily a consistency thing. My point is, if you can get a 256K unprotected file from Amazon for $.99 but have to pay $1.29 on iTunes, will that fly? Will some folks pay the extra money for ease of having iTunes manage their library? Probably so. That being said, the existing content that is being migrated, the stuff I have been looking at anyway is iTunes Plus, 256K AAC Purchased (DRM-Free) at $.99 per track. I'm not finding any $1.29 tracks on iTunes as I look through the library, so for now the point may be moot...and we will have to wait for upcoming releases to get a feel for how new content will be priced.

umbertob
2009-01-07, 01:56
New member here, something interesting happened to my iTunes library tonight. I went to iTunes Store to find out that 5 of the DRM protected songs in my Purchased library were now available DRM-free and with better compression from iTunes Plus for $0.30/ea. So I decided to try it out and see if the newly downloaded songs would play over the Squeezebox in my living room's home theater. After the 5 iTunes Plus songs downloaded I shut down and restarted Squeezecenter (7.3.1, which I also downloaded tonight) to allow a rescan of my iTunes library. After a while I fired up the Squeezebox in the other room and, lo and behold, the 5 newly "freed" files play no problem, and sound great. Funny thing is, now ALL my iTunes files play no problem, hundreds of supposedly protected DRM songs I could not play until yesterday through my Squeezebox stream just fine and play loud and clear!

What'd they do, zap DRM protection from all my purchased iTunes library tonight as I was downloading those handful of Plus files? I thought DRM protection would be removed only after paying Apple an extra $0.30 via iTunes Plus? Guess not. I'm happy of course, but i hope it's not a fluke... Hope your experience is similar.

SJobson
2009-01-07, 03:08
I've read elsewhere that you can't upgrade only some of your existing songs to DRM-free for $0.30 each; it forces you to do the whole library or not at all. So check your receipt from ITMS carefully!

toby10
2009-01-07, 03:17
talbotpat wrote:
> Hopefully the variable pricing will be a bust and the market will settle
> out at $.99 per track.

Why do you think variable pricing is bad? Seems to me that songs are
variable, so variable pricing would be good. Perhaps not set well, which
would require competition in the Apple iTunes store, but that's a
separate issue.

I could see a business model where more popular songs, say the newest
release of a popular star/group would be more expensive than an older
release.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

Completely agree! Furthermore, a felxible pricing scheme would allow the newer, less known bands & artists to offer a lower price point to get their music discovered.
Free works too, if they choose, but some compensation is reasonable as well.

Let Britney *cough* charge $1.99 and let some new garage band charge $0.39

talbotpat
2009-01-07, 08:08
What'd they do, zap DRM protection from all my purchased iTunes library tonight as I was downloading those handful of Plus files? I thought DRM protection would be removed only after paying Apple an extra $0.30 via iTunes Plus? Guess not. I'm happy of course, but i hope it's not a fluke... Hope your experience is similar.

Great that your mileage has varied to that degree. Technically, that should not happen. DRM is embedded in the file itself, and unless Apple has changed things since yesterday afternoon around the pricing model for DRM-free upgrades to library content, what you are seeing is an anomaly. Have you looked at the file type in your library to verify that none of your content shows as AAC Protected? Go to View/View Options and select 'Kind' to display the file type. Stuff I have imported from CD shows as 'AAC audio file', things I have bought that have DRM show as 'Protected AAC' and the upgraded content that was previously protected but I paid the add'l $.30 per track shows as 'Purchased AAC.'

corbey
2009-01-08, 10:17
I think iTunes is a horrible product - as a music management system it is very constricting and shows that Apple wants to control users more zealosuly than Microsoft ever has, while providing questionable value add in return. My wife swears by her iPhone and iPod - I prefer my Blackberry Bold and a regular MP3 player by eons because they are far more open to be managed with more competent and flexible software.

And I am surprised I always seem to be so alone in this -

Cheers! You're not alone in thinking this, not at all. iTunes and other Apple products are fine, so long as you're willing to limit yourself to Apple-world. Thanks for expressing what I've always felt.

However, I do like using the iPeng application on an iTouch to control my Squeezeboxes.