In the face of competition from Amazon and soon Microsoft, Apple has reduced the price of its digital rights management-free music library. As CNet reports, DRM-free "iTunes Plus" songs on the iTunes Store now cost 99 cents each, down from the $1.29 Apple charged when the songs first became available in May this year. That means the DRM-free tracks, which are encoded in 256Kbps AAC format, now cost the same as Apple's DRM-protected, 128Kbps AAC songs.
Apple's move comes less than three weeks after the launch of the Amazon MP3 service, though which Amazon offers DRM-free, 256Kbps MP3 tracks for 99 cents each. Microsoft's upcoming revamped Zune Marketplace will also offer DRM-free MP3 songs, although Microsoft has yet to announce specific pricing.