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Apple launches iTunes Plus alongside iTunes 7.2 release

post #1 of 66
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Apple on Wednesday morning launched iTunes Plus, an extension of its iTunes Store that has begun selling DRM-free music tracks for $1.29 per song.

iTunes Plus

The new iTunes Plus tracks feature high quality 256 kbps AAC encoding for audio quality which the company claims is virtually indistinguishable from the original recordings. They also come without limitations on the type of music player or number of computers that purchased songs can be played on.

For the time being, iTunes Plus will consist of EMIs digital catalog of recordings, including singles and albums from Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, Norah Jones, Frank Sinatra, Joss Stone, Pink Floyd, John Coltrane and more than a dozen of Paul McCartneys classic albums available on iTunes for the first time.

Alongside the higher quality iTunes Plus tracks, iTunes will continue to offer its entire catalog of over five million songs as 128 kbps AAC encoded tracks with DRM. They'll continue to sell for just $0.99 per song.

iTunes will also provide customers a a simple, one-click option that will allow them to easily upgrade their library of previously purchased EMI content to iTunes Plus tracks for just 30 cents a song and $3.00 for most albums.

"Our customers are very excited about the freedom and amazing sound quality of iTunes Plus," said Steve Jobs, Apples CEO. "We expect more than half of the songs on iTunes will be offered in iTunes Plus versions by the end of this year."

EMI music videos are now also available in iTunes Plus versions with no change in price. iTunes Plus songs purchased from the iTunes Store will play on all iPods, Mac or Windows computers, widescreen TVs with Apple TV and soon iPhones, as well as many other digital music players.

iTunes 7.2

In order to preview and purchase iTunes Plus music, customers will need to upgrade to iTunes 7.2. The new version was released early Wednesday morning as a free 29.6MB download or Macs and a 36.3MB download for Windows PCs.

Apple's iTunes Store features the worlds largest catalog with over five million songs, 350 television shows and over 500 movies. The iTunes Store has sold over 2.5 billion songs, 50 million TV shows and over two million movies, making it the worlds most popular online music, TV and movie store.
post #2 of 66
Sweet!
post #3 of 66
There was a 7.2 update but the Canadian iTunes store does not seem to have the new section.

Bummer.

EDIT: Thanks to all for pointing out how to get to the "+" section - looks like we can get this in the Great White North after all.
post #4 of 66
I can't see the DRM-free stuff on the U.K. version either.
post #5 of 66
Well guys, if it isn't there, blame the music licensing associations in your countries for it.
post #6 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shintocam View Post

There was a 7.2 update but the Canadian iTunes store does not seem to have the new section.

Bummer.

Canada?? Are you guys still a separate country?
post #7 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Well I don't think I would call this sweet. Apple has been looking for a way to charge more than 0.99 cents for iTunes songs and now they have found it. This is a joke, instead of reducing the price of music which is what everyone has been asking for, they increase the price, typical.

I haven't actually heard that much grumbling about price. I've heard a lot about DRM, but 0.99 a song seems to be a sweet spot. Compare that to several-dollar ringtones for phones, and I think it's fair to say that Apple has been keeping music prices down.

I think it's fairer to say that the music labels have been looking for an excuse to raise prices, and Apple has been fighting them to keep them low. But giving permission to drop DRM isn't something the labels are going to do for free, so Apple and you have to pay for it.
post #8 of 66
Even though we can log on to the US Store in Canada (and window shop at all the movies and TV shows which we still can't buy without an American credit card), the 7.2 version of the U.S. iTunes Store still doesn't appear to mention "iTunes Plus" anywhere...could it somehow be blocked if it's accessed from outside?
post #9 of 66
iTunes + isn't officially on the UK front page yet either, but if you go into your account and enable iTunses +, and then search for an EMI artist, eg Coldplay, some results have a + beside them. Probably the same in Canada?
post #10 of 66
So Cool!!!!!!!!!!

I am anxious to try it!!
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post #11 of 66
Quote:
more than a dozen of Paul McCartney’s classic albums available on iTunes for the first time.

Strange, I could find only two. And those are new ones.
post #12 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by G_Warren View Post

iTunes + isn't officially on the UK front page yet either, but if you go into your account and enable iTunses +, and then search for an EMI artist, eg Coldplay, some results have a + beside them. Probably the same in Canada?

Same in Switzerland (not often mentioned on Appleinsider, isn't it? But Swiss people are still alive... ). What I can't find is that one:

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

iTunes will also provide customers a a simple, one-click option that will allow them to easily upgrade their library of previously purchased EMI content to iTunes Plus tracks for just 30 cents a song and $3.00 for most albums.

I hope it will be there (or I'll find it) soon...

EDIT: found it!
post #13 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Well I don't think I would call this sweet. Apple has been looking for a way to charge more than 0.99 cents for iTunes songs and now they have found it. This is a joke, instead of reducing the price of music which is what everyone has been asking for, they increase the price, typical.

Lets see mac mini going away, apple tv failure, overpriced iphone which is already losing hype, delayed OS release and now overpriced music. Yep its been a banner year, lets hope Intel does something new in 2007 because its clear Apple had nothing to do with their success in 2006.

They haven't increased the price, they still offer 99c DRM tracks. Also, Plus albums cost the same as DRM albums.

There is no word yet on the mini. The Apple TV is not setting the world on fire but it can't be called a failure. The iPhone is, if anything, gaining still more hype (though whether this is good is questionable).

Have a lie down, count to 10 and chill out.
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post #14 of 66
...the price for "Plus" tracks is $1.39 in Canada (compared to $0.99 for DRM-enabled tracks). We also have to pay $2 more for the "Plus" albums while Americans get no price hike. I assume that's the tax levy here that also keeps blank CD-R's artifically high (blank DVD's have been cheaper than CD-R's for 2 years in Canada!)

Still, even with the strong Canadian dollar (over US$0.93), we enjoy the cheapest iTunes prices for single songs and low-end albums (though the U.S. is now cheaper for the "Plus" albums)...
post #15 of 66
I just upgraded all my Pink Floyd and Penguin Cafe (EMI) to iTunes plus. 90 tracks in all for $AUD 12.60.
Use the "upgrade your library" option. Actually its only halfway through downloading as I write.
Cheer
post #16 of 66
Do you think the iPhone will allow these new tunes to be used as ring tones?
Hard-Core.
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Hard-Core.
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post #17 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by aplnub View Post

Do you think the iPhone will allow these new tunes to be used as ring tones?

Yes, its DRM free, its your music and your iphone. Why would it be anything else?
post #18 of 66
I'm in Canada and I upgraded 48 songs for about $17 this morning before I left for work... I had to click a link in iTunes to refresh the homepage and there the link was on the right side near the complete my tunes...

The update process was easy... I've not had a chance to listen to the tunes but I'm doing it as a future-proofing system so I can move my music anywhere I want in the future...
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post #19 of 66
will it have DLNA support for my PS3 ?
post #20 of 66
Where? I cannot find where to upgrade my existing music
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-Justin Winokur

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post #21 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by ALM View Post

Strange, I could find only two. And those are new ones.

Ah, you have to turn on iTunes Plus to see it. And I can't because it seems like everyone upgrading their libraries.
post #22 of 66
I upgraded this morning without a problem and everything seems to be in working order. I upgraded the few EMI tracks I had painlessly, but I have yet to find where I can set in the preferences to show the DRM-free version instead of the DRM version if its available. There is no change in my Store preferences? Strange ... actually, the most exciting news for me was iTunes U. I just recently graduated and having free courses online is fantastic, especially if you're looking to increase your knowledge on a subject. (I downloaded the MIT Linear Algebra Course already...). Very exciting ... this could make HUGE waves in academia if used properly...

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post #23 of 66
The UK store is still not back to normal. The "Complete My Album" link on the left keeps on appearing and then disappearing and the iTunes plus page varies between having the "Upgrade My Library" section and not having it.

When you can get through to Upgrade My Library, it occasionally prompts for an account password, but always fails saying that the "availability of the items has changed" or some such message...
post #24 of 66
iTunes U and Plus both working in the UK now.

Also iPod games have been added to the main menu.
post #25 of 66
@SpinDrift

Have you managed to upgrade any songs you'd bought previously? When I click Buy on the Upgrade My Library page, I'm still getting a message saying "The item you tried to buy is no longer available." with "The availability of the item changed while you were using the store..." written underneath.
post #26 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Well I don't think I would call this sweet. Apple has been looking for a way to charge more than 0.99 cents for iTunes songs and now they have found it. This is a joke, instead of reducing the price of music which is what everyone has been asking for, they increase the price, typical.

Who was asking for a price reduction again? Already, it's a massive price reduction where you can (usually) buy just the tracks you want rather than having to buy the entire album as you had to before.
post #27 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by aplnub View Post

Do you think the iPhone will allow these new tunes to be used as ring tones?

If it does, Apple and AT&T are leaving a lot of money on table.

My guess: No.
post #28 of 66
My update of EMI to 256Kbit versions (90 tracks) has stopped at 29. iTunes has downloaded 61 tracks and is now telling me internet connection is down, but of course it isn't. I am able to post this. Whats going on.

PS from the Australian iTMS

EDIT: Unknown Error 504
post #29 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by petermac View Post

My update of EMI to 256Kbit versions (90 tracks) has stopped at 29. iTunes has downloaded 61 tracks and is now telling me internet connection is down, but of course it isn't. I am able to post this. Whats going on.

PS from the Australian iTMS

EDIT: Unknown Error 504

Could be the server timed out from excessive load ... kinda like my Wii ... I can almost never access Wii Shop because everyone and their mother is on it downloading vitual console games, but I can go anywhere else on the internet ... keep trying, eventually you'll get through!

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post #30 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Porchland View Post

If it does, Apple and AT&T are leaving a lot of money on table.

My guess: No.

Damn.
post #31 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Porchland View Post

If it does, Apple and AT&T are leaving a lot of money on table.

My guess: No.

We don't know any details yet. I recall that Jobs was calling phone companies greedy for wanting to price their music at $3, and he seems to have a fair amount of control here. I'd laugh if he goes back on it and decides to allow charging $2 more for the favor of having it be the ring tone.
post #32 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by petermac View Post

My update of EMI to 256Kbit versions (90 tracks) has stopped at 29. iTunes has downloaded 61 tracks and is now telling me internet connection is down, but of course it isn't. I am able to post this. Whats going on.

PS from the Australian iTMS

EDIT: Unknown Error 504

I'm in the US and can't get anything. Apparently the Store is being clobbered.
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post #33 of 66
So I thought I would be able to upgrade an individual song. Turns out I can only upgrade them all or none??? This seems like a pretty poor implementation.
post #34 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by petermac View Post

My update of EMI to 256Kbit versions (90 tracks) has stopped at 29. iTunes has downloaded 61 tracks and is now telling me internet connection is down, but of course it isn't. I am able to post this. Whats going on.

PS from the Australian iTMS

EDIT: Unknown Error 504

The server is being hammered here in Canada, I suspect everywhere else too. I had to retry a few songs, but the finally downloaded and upgraded. Actually a pretty painless process, it's just having to deal with a huge load I suspect.
post #35 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jwink3101 View Post

Where? I cannot find where to upgrade my existing music

On the main page, click on Music on the left side.

Then on the music page, click on iTunes Plus on the right side.
post #36 of 66
Did anyone notice in the release notes that this version of iTunes is compatible with Windows Vista FINALLY? It's about time!
post #37 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdj21ya View Post

So I thought I would be able to upgrade an individual song. Turns out I can only upgrade them all or none??? This seems like a pretty poor implementation.

There is supposed to be a way. I think that your EMI songs will have some kind of symbol, or notation that it is an EMI song. Supposedly, if you click, or double click it, you will get an option to "upgrade" it.

That's from memory, as I don't use iTunes yet, though now I will. My wife does, and I just updated her machine. I seem to remember reading something about it.
post #38 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by sCreeD View Post

I'm in the US and can't get anything. Apparently the Store is being clobbered.

Same here. Tried to upgrade a couple of tracks on iTunes Plus using iTunes 7.2, get nothing but error messages.

Nice to know its popular, but its kinda sucky that Apple didn't anticipate this and have sufficient servers/bandwidth to deal with it. C'mon guys, execution counts.

.
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post #39 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdj21ya View Post

So I thought I would be able to upgrade an individual song. Turns out I can only upgrade them all or none??? This seems like a pretty poor implementation.

I think you can upgrade individual songs, by clicking on the 'plus' sign next to the individual song upgrade price (in the US, '$0.30').

However, its difficult to tell, because whenever I do so, I get a 'the iTunes Store could not complete your request, try again later' message. It could be that the servers are overloaded, it could be that its not an option... probably the former.

.
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post #40 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

I think you can upgrade individual songs, by clicking on the 'plus' sign next to the individual song upgrade price (in the US, '$0.30').

However, its difficult to tell, because whenever I do so, I get a 'the iTunes Store could not complete your request, try again later' message. It could be that the servers are overloaded, it could be that its not an option... probably the former.

.

What you're saying conforms to what I remember, so I'm sure you're right about it being able to do that.

I can't believe Apple would require one to upgrade all of them at once.
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