Rumor: Apple's iTunes going DRM-free starting Tuesday

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Apple is believed to be on the verge of an end-of-year push that would start by finally offering unprotected iTunes Store music from all major labels and would switch a special post-holiday campaign giving away music and videos to Europeans.



A report from last week brought to AppleInsider's attention by French technology site ElectronLibre asserts that it's now "clear" Apple will spark new interest in its music store by removing DRM from tracks published by Sony, Universal and Warner on December 9th.



The site doesn't point to specific sources but is careful to note that Apple is moving cautiously on the matter following difficult negotiations that allegedly had the labels hoping to negotiate what EMI had done for the launch of iTunes Plus in 2007, when it successfully negotiated prices higher before ultimately agreeing to reduce the price to Apple's standard 99 cents. Labels had also been hoping to switch from a monthly reporting of iTunes sales stats to live data, the earlier story suggests.



Talks between Apple and the remaining three labels may have been corroborated by a previous CNet story which also mentioned ongoing discussions that would let Apple switch to music without FairPlay restrictions.



Shoppers themselves have also noticed songs briefly selling unprotected that weren't either from EMI or independents.



More recently, the same site also believes Apple will quickly follow up the move with a promo campaign nicknamed the "12 Days of iTunes" that will let shoppers in France, Germany and the UK download an "unlimited" amount of content just after Christmas.



Running from the 26th through to January 6th, the formal debut of Macworld Expo in San Francisco, the campaign would tie into local radio stations and news outlets and would make a point of offering big-name content. Lily Allen and James Blunt songs will supposedly be offered in addition to an episode of Spongebob Squarepants and other videos.



Although Apple gives away content on a regular basis, a daily giveaway would be rare for the company, which usually limits offerings to once a week and to less high-profile content. The timing nonetheless implies a campaign meant to soften the drop in downloads after Christmas.



Readers should treat ElectronLibre's claims as rumor given the uncertainty of whether Apple is participating in any negotiations at all. However, the page is known to have accurately leaked the launch of French iTunes TV shows and so has established a brief track record.



Update: CNet News.com claims that ElectronLibre's report is untrue and that it's unlikely DRM-free tracks from the three remaining labels will turn up on iTunes before the end of the year.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 109
    irelandireland Posts: 17,684member
    I'll see it when I believe it O-o
  • Reply 2 of 109
    cdong4cdong4 Posts: 194member
    This would be monumental for Apple, and the rest of the music industry.
  • Reply 3 of 109
    irelandireland Posts: 17,684member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CDonG4 View Post


    This would be monumental for Apple, and the rest of the music industry.



    Or overdue, whichever.
  • Reply 4 of 109
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    I think it's great - I have already upgraded over a third of my library to iTunes Plus.



    One thing though - they shouldn't call it "The 12 days of iTunes" - that is extremely arrogant to replace "Christmas" with "iTunes." To some people it is the birthday of God (or something...) It just comes across wrong, that's all.
  • Reply 5 of 109
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Although Apple gives away content on a regular basis, a daily giveaway would be rare for the company, which usually limits offerings to once a week and to less high-profile content. The timing nonetheless implies a campaign meant to soften the drop in downloads after Christmas.



    Haven't the days after Christmas usually led to an increase in downloads? With people getting gift cards/promos for iTunes as gifts over the holidays, I would imagine more people redeeming those cards leading to a higher number of downloads than before Christmas.
  • Reply 6 of 109
    I've been very limited in my iTunes purchases due to DRM restrictions.

    What little I've purchased is mainly iTunes plus.

    If this happens, I can finally through caution to the wind.
  • Reply 7 of 109
    bbwibbwi Posts: 812member
    No way this happens by tomorrow. This is huge and Steve is more likely to announce something at MacWorld
  • Reply 8 of 109
    philbphilb Posts: 17member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple is believed to be on the verge of an end-of-year push that would start by finally offering unprotected iTunes Store music from all major labels and would switch a special post-holiday campaign giving away music and videos to Europeans.



    Well, it's half-past Tuesday here in Blighty, and nothing in the store looks that much different. There's 13 tracks in 'Upgrade my Library' - I'd have hoped my entire back catalogue would be in there if they were getting rid of the DRM. Nothing obvious in the US store, but I don't go there much to know the difference.
  • Reply 9 of 109
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    I think it's great - I have already upgraded over a third of my library to iTunes Plus.



    One thing though - they shouldn't call it "The 12 days of iTunes" - that is extremely arrogant to replace "Christmas" with "iTunes." To some people it is the birthday of God (or something...) It just comes across wrong, that's all.



    "The 12 Days of Christmas" is perhaps one of the earliest examples of what we now know of as the divorce of Christmas from Christ.

    Its a song that celebrates the commercial side of the holiday and has nothing to do with the spirit of Christmas (other than the spirit of 'the backbone of consumer capitalism.)

    </cynical rant>
  • Reply 10 of 109
    The music industry decided to just take my money in exchange for digital music (as in direct download instead of on CD) without screwing me over? Have they finally realized that any CD I feed to my MacBook will result in mp3s added to my iTunes library, without even another keystroke? Wait, it must be 2001 already?
  • Reply 11 of 109




    I just found this album in my iTunes Plus 'upgrade my album' list. Note the label.



    (This is on the Australian iTunes Store)
  • Reply 12 of 109
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post


    I've been very limited in my iTunes purchases due to DRM restrictions.

    What little I've purchased is mainly iTunes plus.

    If this happens, I can finally through caution to the wind.



    And I could stop buying from Amazon. Oh, wait...Apple's prices will still be more than Amazon's and nearly as much as buying the CD (if not more). I could wait for those famous iTunes sales...oops, Apple doesn't do that (okay, iTunes says that Britney Spears albums are on sale this week but weirdly iTunes sale prices are Amazon's regular price).



    Never mind, regardless of what happens, it seems I can just go back to ignoring the iTunes Store.
  • Reply 13 of 109
    Here we go again --



    Big STARS will fill the arenas, and thus can give away CD's which cost them 50c-$1 to make. With $50-100 ticket prices, it's trivial.



    Let them spend tens of thousands on making of a CD, and maybe a FEW of them will ever recoup those costs!



    Arenas are for stars, and most all musicians are not stars!



    We all leave in the glass houses..., nobody's perfect!, and the bills keep coming! And so, how are the musicians to survive, never mind feed their families, never mind health insurance etc.?!



    But, most "civilians" can't relate to the musicians' struggles!!!
  • Reply 14 of 109
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macologist View Post


    Here we go again --



    Big STARS will fill the arenas, and thus can give away CD's which cost them 50c-$1 to make. With $50-100 ticket prices, it's trivial.



    Let them spend tens of thousands on making of a CD, and maybe a FEW of them will ever recoup those costs!



    Arenas are for stars, and most all musicians are not stars!



    We all leave in the glass houses..., nobody's perfect!, and the bills keep coming! And so, how are the musicians to survive, never mind feed their families, never mind health insurance etc.?!



    But, most "civilians" can't relate to the musicians' struggles!!!



    What? How would musicians suffer from non-DRM legally purchased content?
  • Reply 15 of 109
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    And I could stop buying from Amazon. Oh, wait...Apple's prices will still be more than Amazon's and nearly as much as buying the CD (if not more). I could wait for those famous iTunes sales...oops, Apple doesn't do that (okay, iTunes says that Britney Spears albums are on sale this week but weirdly iTunes sale prices are Amazon's regular price).



    Never mind, regardless of what happens, it seems I can just go back to ignoring the iTunes Store.



    Well that's true if:



    - You can actually find anything on Amazon amid the advertisements and junk

    - You don't mind the lower quality of Amazons digital offerings



    A couple of cents more per track for a higher quality download and a nicer more organised experience seems like a good deal to me. The kind of folks that will pay a bit more for a computer (Mac folks) because it's designed better and of better quality, will always appreciate the same features in a music store IMO.
  • Reply 16 of 109
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GQB View Post


    "The 12 Days of Christmas" is perhaps one of the earliest examples of what we now know of as the divorce of Christmas from Christ.

    Its a song that celebrates the commercial side of the holiday and has nothing to do with the spirit of Christmas (other than the spirit of 'the backbone of consumer capitalism.)

    </cynical rant>



    That being said anyone believing this time of year actually has anything to do with Christ is just as naive and is in fact about roughly two months too late.



    Christmas is in fact a pagan holiday for worshipping the sun not Christ. It was merged into Christianity in an effort to get people converted from heathenism to Christianity which in itself is wrong.



    Besides, don't you think that if Jesus wanted us to celebrate his birthday it would be written in the Bible? There is only one account in the Christian Greek Scriptures that mentions a birthday and it didn't go all too well for John the Baptiser did it?



    Anyway, back to topic.



    I hope that DRM-free content also allows us to purchase from OTHER iTunes stores. Why can't I buy from UK when much of the music I listen to is from over there. Instead I have to listen to content from Australia/New Zealand where it's mostly crappy US music which has no soul. We don't even have much of our own music promoted here which is wrong because New Zealand music is pretty good.
  • Reply 17 of 109
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    Well that's true if:



    - You can actually find anything on Amazon amid the advertisements and junk

    - You don't mind the lower quality of Amazons digital offerings



    A couple of cents more per track for a higher quality download and a nicer more organised experience seems like a good deal to me. The kind of folks that will pay a bit more for a computer (Mac folks) because it's designed better and of better quality, will always appreciate the same features in a music store IMO.



    While I am not a fan of the iTS' setup, it is better than Amazon's, but the 256kbps VBR MP3 tracks at Amazon are better quality than the 128kbps DRMed tracks at the iTS. It's currently only EMI's DRM-free offerings that are 256kbps AAC.
  • Reply 18 of 109
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macologist View Post


    Here we go again --



    Big STARS will fill the arenas, and thus can give away CD's which cost them 50c-$1 to make. With $50-100 ticket prices, it's trivial.



    Let them spend tens of thousands on making of a CD, and maybe a FEW of them will ever recoup those costs!



    Arenas are for stars, and most all musicians are not stars!



    We all leave in the glass houses..., nobody's perfect!, and the bills keep coming! And so, how are the musicians to survive, never mind feed their families, never mind health insurance etc.?!



    But, most "civilians" can't relate to the musicians' struggles!!!



    Shouldn't they get a job that can pay the bills if their music can't?



    I don't expect the public to pay for my "art" (fixing computers) if the market won't.
  • Reply 19 of 109
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    - You don't mind the lower quality of Amazons digital offerings



    Based on actual experience with tracks from both stores, or based on conjecture because of the file formats involved?
  • Reply 20 of 109
    "Shouldn't they get a job that can pay the bills if their music can't?



    I don't expect the public to pay for my "art" (fixing computers) if the market won't."



    Well said!
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