Apple changes iTunes pricing

I’m surprised it took so long to make this change.

Under Apple’s new pricing plan that will take effect in April, Mr. Schiller said songs will cost 69 cents, 99 cents or $1.29. He said the “vast majority” of the songs will cost 69 cents, though people familiar with the matter said the most sought-after songs — which generate most of the sales on the service — will likely cost $1.29 as both Apple and the major record labels try to boost revenue growth. Wholesale prices charged by the record labels are likely to change to reflect the new price points; spokespeople for Apple and major record labels declined to discuss their agreements.

Apple also said it is dropping digital rights management, or copy protection, from eight million songs in its catalog effective immediately, and from the remaining two million in its catalog by the end of March.

Apple’s DRM has made it complicated for iTunes customers to use competitors’ products, like SanDisk Corp. music players or Microsoft Corp.’s Zune. Among the limits imposed by the software locks, it is difficult or impossible to play songs purchased from the iTunes Store on devices other than the iPod or iPhone.

For those of us who have loaded up on iTunes songs over the years, we can pay 30 cents a song to upgrade previously purchased songs in their iTunes library to a DRM-free version. Frankly, this sucks. We hould get the new versions for free.