iTunes DRM-free upgrades are now available track-by-track

Apple has quietly updated its DRM upgrade policy on iTunes. According to iLounge, folks wishing to strip digital rights management protection from their songs no longer have to convert their entire music libraryβ€”they can now do it track by track.

Upgrades still cost 30 cents a track, and as far as we can tell, they still bump songs from 128Kbps to 256Kbps quality. 30 cents a track for a handful of albums shouldn’t amount to much, but Apple’s previous all-or-nothing policy incurred some hefty charges for some users. One Gizmodo editor said he would have had to cough up a staggering $250 to strip copy protection from his 52-album music library.

In case you missed the big news, Apple effectively put the last nail in the coffin of music DRM at Macworld earlier this month. Eight million DRM-free songs from all four major record labels immediately became available on the iTunes Store, and Apple revealed plans to make the entire iTunes catalog DRM-free by the end of March. Unprotected tracks can cost as little as $0.69 and as much as $1.29.

Comments closed
    • BoBzeBuilder
    • 11 years ago

    $70 to upgrade my music library? F. You Apple.

    • FireGryphon
    • 11 years ago

    So, what exactly happened to the music industry that it’s okay to have music without DRM? I know it’s a PITA, and I know everyone wanted ti changed, but why’d the labels give in?

      • Corrado
      • 11 years ago

      Everyone basically told them they were going to pull the plug if they didn’t.

      • Wirko
      • 11 years ago

      Maybe, just maybe, the labels have become smarter and plant some poisonous yellow dots into each audio file they sell to you. A watermark, that is.

    • Imperor
    • 11 years ago

    I’d never call 52 albums a “music library”… I’ve got 42 just by Pink Floyd and a total of some 3500 albums! πŸ™‚
    Haven’t exactly bought them from iTunes though (they probably don’t have half of it) so I don’t have to worry about any DRM…

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 11 years ago

      So you’re a low-life thief?

      My wife and I have about 120 albums between the 2 of us, almost all physical CD’s with some iTunes songs and Zune songs in the mix.

        • BoBzeBuilder
        • 11 years ago

        Yes. Britney needs our help to buy her third mansion.

          • ludi
          • 11 years ago

          If you are buying OR stealing Britney Spears albums, then I think the punishment fits the crime in either case.

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 11 years ago

    Thanks. But I’m happy with my Zune Pass (available for 3 PCs, WM or PFS) and my 10 songs credits each month.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 11 years ago

      I always wondered what the payment for being a MS fanboy was. Now I know.

        • Ricardo Dawkins
        • 11 years ago

        haha. dont be a drama queen! πŸ˜‰

        • funko
        • 11 years ago

        much less than the payment for being an apple fanboy πŸ˜‰

        but honestly, i think its the best deal in music right now if you find yourself already buying an album a month, which is pretty common. especially since they sell mp3s in 320kpbs, and albums are generally cheaper at teh zune store compared to itunes and amazon. ($10 vs $17-$20)

          • adisor19
          • 11 years ago

          Did someone say apple fanboi ?! πŸ˜‰

          Adi

          • derFunkenstein
          • 11 years ago

          you’ll have to ask Adi about that payment. πŸ˜‰

        • blacksteel
        • 11 years ago

        iTunes is a huge money maker for Apple, they just did this because Amazon had DRM free and charges the same. I personally like Amazon better because iTunes stinks as an application. VLC, Winamp, and even WMP is a better music player than iTunes.

      • no51
      • 11 years ago

      I was wondering when you were going to show up.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 11 years ago

    The upgrade in quality is nice but it’s still clear that charging for the upgrade is just a money-grab. Why people don’t just rip files to DRM-free then convert them back is beyond me. Prehaps it’s beyond me because I’m somewhat tech-savvy and the majority of iTunes users just do what they’re told.

      • Forge
      • 11 years ago

      What? Rip what? You mean burn a CD from the DRMed files and then re-rip and re-encode it?

      Simple: some of us don’t have lead ears.

      You started with a 128kbps AAC. You convert that to an Audio CD, but that does NOT add any quality. It’s at BEST the same audio quality as the 128kbps AAC file, likely a tiny amount worse.

      Now you re-rip and re-encode. The re-rip has it’s own issues (got to rip clean and get a good extract), and then you re-encode. Either you set the bitrate higher for the second encode, wasting 256kbps or more to vainly try and keep that original 128kbps AAC quality, or you re-encode at 128kbps AAC and get a file with audibly lower quality than the original one.

      Great job there brain trust. You’ve wasted 5-10 minutes per CD at minimum and you’ve got files that are twice the size and/or poorer quality. How was this a good idea?

      Alternately, you can pay Apple .30$ per song or 3.00$ per full album and get the whole thing DRM-free at 256kbps AAC, which is much nicer, very close to a perfect encode for most uses.

      You may be cheaper than I am, but for me it makes perfect sense to pay and upgrade. It’s not removing the DRM, it’s replacing the whole file with a much higher quality version.

      Of course, the decision was even easier for me because I’ve never purchased any music on iTunes. My stuff was already DRM-free and my quality is what I choose it to be.

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 11 years ago

        Ouch. Served.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 11 years ago

        see, that’s what i was trying to get at the first time he brought that up (when Apple first announced the upsell) but he was just too dumb to get it.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 11 years ago

        Whoa, I think you need to call an exterminator, you seem to have a serious insect infestation in your ass =)

        I shouldn’t have said re-encode because afaik iTunes backs up files which can then be reinserted exactly the same as they were, no actual re-encode. I knew that but didn’t say it quite right, apparently you didn’t and decided to go apesh*t on me for it. As far as paying for the upgrade to 256k files, well that’s fine as a choice but it shouldn’t be a requirement in order to un-DRM them putting aside the poor choice of buying DRM’d music files in the first place. If I had been foolish enough to make that choice I’d be upset that without going through the backup-restore hassle that I’d be asked to pay 30% more to do so. – It would not about being cheap, it would be about not being double-dipped for something I already bought, a company that appreciates their past customers would have a simple way to un-DRM them not look for a way to make more money for it but that’s part of the reason I don’t appreciate Apple.

        Finally, puuu-lease, there’s no need to lecture me about digital audio. I never have and never will buy compressed or DRM’d audio, I don’t illegally download music, I buy CDs and rip them to FLAC with EAC. I don’t believe that makes me cheap.

          • eitje
          • 11 years ago

          you should use cdex ;P

            • MadManOriginal
            • 11 years ago

            It desn’t look any better than EAC and may even lack some features. Plus I’m familiar with EAC and it’s set up and works for me :shrug: So unless there was some huge compelling feature without loss of anything that EAC does I don’t see why I’d use it instead.

        • droopy1592
        • 11 years ago

        And 95% of us wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the original AAC, the burned disc, or the reencode.

        We did a test when I was in school where we did 14 bit recordings, 16 bit recordings, 160kbps MP3s, and MP3s reencoded from discs burned from mp3s at 160 and 256kbps.

        No one nailed down what they were listening to. It was well within range of… a guestimate.

        I think one person got 3 out of 5, and that was luck!

          • FireGryphon
          • 11 years ago

          Sometimes the difference is subtle enough that we can’t put our fingers on it consciously, but it makes a difference in the listening experience. It’s the quality of the sound, the difference between something being pleasant and soothing, that we can listen to over and over, or harsh and abrasive, that bothers us if we listen for too long.

          Most of the time, compressed audio is fine, such as in a car where there’s lots of background noise. Under controlled listening circumstances, with good equipment, audio fidelity is definitely important.

            • droopy1592
            • 11 years ago

            I’m not talking cheesey bose crap, I’m talking hi quality output components and nice earphones in this test (Grado and AKG) and no one was able to tell a difference.

            Your difference or Joe Smoe’s difference may be the same difference people hear between radioshack interconnects and $1200 oxygen-free braided/twisted, silver tipped interconnects that cost every bit of $20 to make.

            Nada

          • VaultDweller
          • 11 years ago

          I don’t know.

          I haven’t listened to much music in years, but when I was in high school (Morpheus and Kazaa were all the rage!) and downloaded MP3s lower than 128 Kbps without realizing, I could clearly identify them as being lower quality. I couldn’t listen to songs and identify the actual bit-rate, but any time I heard an MP3 and thought it sounded bad it would turn out to be 96 Kbps.

          It was rare for anyone to encode songs at higher than 128 Kbps at the time, so I can’t really comment on the difference between 128 and 256 Kbps.

            • Usacomp2k3
            • 11 years ago

            For the record, 128kbps mp3 is generally worse quality than 128kbps aac. I’d say bump it up a notch for equivolency, so 160kbps or 192kbps.

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