In the final Macworld Expo keynote Apple today introduced new computing and software products, and also confirmed long-standing claims that songs sold through iTunes from all four major labels are now to be made available DRM-free.
The company also announced that iTunes users can now download songs directly onto their iPhone 3G using their carrier’s 3G network.
Given the extent of repeated rumours in the run-up to Christmas, it’s no great surprise that fresh reports this morning claim Apple could announce a fully DRM-free iTunes Store as soon as today.
The report claims Apple has also given agreement to flexible pricing on music, so labels will be able to charge slightly more for in vogue hits, though the cost of older tracks will fall to 79-cents in the US.
You’ve been waiting for DRM-free music from all the major labels through iTunes, right? We reported on a “blink-and-you-miss-it” moment when tracks from majors blipped briefly in Apple’s iTunes Plus line-up? Just WTF is going down?
Negotiations may be narrowing toward closure – though at this point nothing is certain – will the labels join in or not? It’s late-night stone-faced deal make/break hardball, we reckon…
Out on the perimeter, reports are now coming in which explain just why the majors haven’t crossed the ‘T’s and dotted the ‘i’s just yet – and, it seems, each label is hard-faced on closing the deal on different points….
“We’d like to congratulate Amazon UK for finally entering the MP3 market albeit a little late,” he said. “We announced on September 16th that we were the first in Europe to achieve this. It’s great that general retailers like Amazon clearly recognise the importance of digital music for consumers and the MP3 universal music format which works on all devices.
Amazon opened up its iTunes competitor, the Amazon MP3 Store in the UK this morning.
Marking the launch of the store the company has launched a wave of aggressive price cuts on new albums from artists including Take That, Kings of Leon and Coldplay, making albums available for just £3.
The store, which offers music in the MP3 format free of stifling DRM, also offers flexible pricing – long a bone of contention between Apple and the music labels.
We know Apple already offers music DRM-free through iTunes Plus from EMI, and are convinced reports Sony BMG is already preparing its music for introduction through the service, now it seems the two remaining majors Warner and Universal, are in “discussions” to offer their music DRM-free through Apple’s service as well.
That’s over a year since EMI signed-up, and in the meantime the majors have left the majority of legitimate music consumers, who overwhelmingly use iTunes, consigned to purchasing a flawed, DRM-laden product.
Sony Pictures Television has reached another interesting deal with iTunes, offering its all-new legal drama, ‘Canterbury’s Law’ for purchase through the UK arm of the service.
It’s not the first television series the company has introduced into the UK market in this way – both Damages and Rescue Me (the first episode of the latter was made available free) also reached these shores through iTunes.
EMI continues to refocus itself as a Web 2.0 music company, working to connect music makers with their fans..
…now as part of the deal to raise the value of music beyond that of a commodity, the company has appointed former MyCokeMusic leader, Rafael McDonnell to the new role of vice president – brand partnerships, licensing and synchronization for the UK and Ireland.