We said copy free, not copyright free. iTunes, recognizing that many of it’s users are having problems with copy protection software when it comes to transferring their music from one device to another, has announced that they are going to start selling their songs in a copy protection software free environment.
Apple’s announcement comes along with the recent launch of it’s iPhone product and in addition to users being able to download their songs they will also have access to the over-the-air download lists that the iPhone uses.
In addition to announcing the new copy protection software free format, Apple is also looking into rolling out a variable pricing scheme on the digital songs that are purchased from their iTunes store. Currently most single song downloads cost about 99 cents with full albums starting at about $9.99. The new variable pricing for single song downloads could now drop to 79 cents and go as high as $1.29 depending on the song and artist.
Digital rights management software – or DRM – is the copy protection software used by companies like Apple to help protect the artist copyrights on the albums and songs iTunes sells. It has been a bit of thorn in the sides of music lovers and record labels alike. DRM is designed to prevent people from downloading and illegally sharing digital music on file-sharing servers. But it creates a problem when music lovers attempt to transfer their files from their computer to their portable device or from one device to another. DRM basically tells the user that they do not have the right to do this and many music lovers have been forced to double purchase songs just to get it on all of their devices to listen to.
To help their users along, Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, petitioned the major record labels in 2007 to drop DRM from their digital music so that consumers were not getting shafted every time they tried to transfer a song they had legally purchased from one device to another. The labels agreed but that agreement included asking iTunes to go to a variable pricing structure that is similar to other retails digital music chains instead of their 99 cent flat rate.
Apple is also planning on setting up a system for iPhone 3G and iPod Touch Wifi users so that they can purchase and download songs while on the go, using the over-the-air download system through the App Store.