03 Jun 2007, 04:37

iTunes Plus

Not too long ago it seemed like the most unlikely thing, but this week iTunes finally made tracks available without DRM (aka iTunes Plus tracks. Ironic that by removing something from them they’re now better). It’s only for artists on labels under EMI but hey, it’s a start. It seems like a remarkably sensible move a record company, which is precisely why it’s so surprising. Hard to believe that it’s taken so long to grasp the obvious: that DRM only annoys honest consumers who find themselves hampered by the limitations that weren’t present in previous kinds of media and does nothing to slow the efforts of people that want to get it for free. I’ve long thought that selling music without DRM and at reasonable prices and convenience could only increase sales, not hurt them. It looks like that theory is finally going to be put to the test. I’m just a single data point, but I know it’ll increase sales to me at the least. I haven’t bought anything from iTunes except for a couple audiobooks, all due to the DRM. I’m not willing to get locked into one player (especially given how picky I am in that regard) and a limited number of devices. So to show my support in the hopes that this will start to become the norm and not the exception, I bought my first album from iTunes (a little bit of classic Bowie). I don’t think it’ll replace eMusic for a while, not unless the selection of DRM free tracks increases dramatically since they certainly don’t compete on price. Plus, it really bugs me that you can’t get it to save the tracks to anywhere other than the default iTunes folder and can’t control how the files are named. But it’s the principle that matters and hopefully this trend continues. I definitely like having more choice in where I get my music from.