p2pnet news view Music:- In the midst of the recession, Apple has decided to increase its iTunes prices.
Not only but also, if we read a New York Times story correctly, Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony Music are looking to Apple to save their —- rapidly failing businesses.
Apple is, “finally flipping the switch on what it calls ‘variable pricing’ and on,”what the music industry calls the last, best hope to turn around its rapidly declining fortunes,” says the NYT.
That means songs will, “now fall into one of three pricing tiers,” with many of the most popular tracks “commanding a 30% increase” from $1 to $1.30, says AppleInsider.
Apple will try to get 70 cents for some “older and less popular tracks are expected to fall to 69 cents, it says, but, “as of Tuesday morning, those cheaper songs were few and far between”.
Rather than trying to help its users out in financially troubled times, “Apple appears to have made price increases its first priority,” says the story, and iTunes tracks are now, “finally free of Apple’s proprietary Fairplay DRM, which restricted iTunes customers to playing protected songs only on their computers or on Apple devices like the iPod and iPhone,” says the NYT.
But, but, weren’t they already DRM-free?
Back in 2007, Apple is now selling DRM-free EMI downloads, but it’s charging a whacking great $1.30 and for each one, p2pnet reported, going on:
“And as TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Weblog) quickly noted, although the hardcore DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) consumer control software is gone, Apple still sneakily has your account information, that`s to say your full name and account email, hidden in the tracks.”
Says Ars Technica at the time, “Apple embeds your account information in all songs sold on the store, not just DRM-free songs. Previously it wasn’t much of a big deal, since no one could imagine users sharing encrypted, DRMed content. But now that DRM-free music from Apple is on the loose, the hidden data is [sic] more significant …
Apple says iTunes tunes now come iTunes Plus, a version of its AAC format encoded at 256 kbps and which can be burned to CD, synced to “any AAC-enabled device,” and played on any Mac or Windows computers.
It doesn’t mention whether or not user data are still buried in the tracks.
Meanwhile, “Users cannot currently upgrade individual tracks or albums to iTunes Plus versions – they must upgrade everything at once,” says a more recent Ars Technica post, adding:
“This is not only annoying, it’s potentially expensive for people who may not be interested in upgrading some albums that they’re no longer interested in, but would like to upgrade some favorites.”
In other news of Apple ripping off users, “At the beginning of the worst economic recession the world has ever seen, Apple has decided to re-launch its shuffle music player,” said p2pnet, adding:
“For $80. Its excuse? This version is smaller.
“Does the company figure Macolytes are dumber (sorry, wealthier) than other people?”
Apparently, it does.
New York Times – Making Sense of New Prices on Apple`s iTunes, April 7, 2009
AppleInsider – Price hike hits Apple’s iTunes Store, April 7, 2009
p2pnet – User data in iTunes DRM-free tracks, June 1, 2007
Ars Technica – Apple hides account info in DRM-free music, too, May 30, 2007
Ars Technica - iTunes Plus launches DRM-free music to a crunch, upgrades not perfect, March 30, 2009
p2pnet - Apple`s teensy Recession Shuffle, March 11, 2009
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