Practical Technology

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Apple kills off DRM


DRM (Digital Right Management) has been a thorn in the side of music and video lovers for years. Now, Apple, after wheeling and dealing with the major music companies, is killing DRM off for good in iTunes.

You should now be able to buy DRM-free songs in one of three price ranges: 69-cents, 99-cents or $1.29. These prices are for, respectively, older catalog titles; current but not especially popular songs; and top hits. So, for example, Credence Clearwater Revival’s 1969 hit Bad Moon Rising, is likely to sell for 69-cents; the Dropkick Murphy’s I’m Shipping up to Boston, should sell for 99-cents; and Kanye West’s Heartless would go for $1.29. Most, about 90% of iTunes musical catalog, will be available at these prices and without DRM by the end of March.

These songs will also of higher quality than their DRM-crippled brothers. Instead of 128Kbps, these tunes are played at 256Kbps. You won’t be able to tell the difference on a set of generic PC speakers, but you’ll certainly be able to tell that 256 is better on any decent stereo system.

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