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iTunes pricing and DRM schemes updated for 2009

Robert Palmer

Phil Schiller today outlined Apple's new pricing scheme for iTunes music, and announced additional music that will be available DRM-free.

In April, depending on the label, songs will be available at three price points: 69 cents, 99 cents, and $1.29. Apple says many more songs will be priced at 69 cents than $1.29, but new releases will likely cost more. Albums will mostly remain at the $9.99 price point.

69 cent songs will have greater restrictions on how they can be used: For each song, users will only be able to download it to one Mac, burn it to one CD, and copy it to one iPod. Turns out this was idle speculation from one of our colleagues, and not part of the changes today. Sorry about that. -- RP

More songs will be also be made available as part of the iTunes Plus program, which features higher-quality, DRM-free music files. Eight million (of 10 million total) songs will be available through iTunes Plus today, and every track will be available DRM-free by the end of March. (Thanks, Chris!)

iPhone users that connect to the Internet via 3G also got good news: They will be able to connect to the iTunes store via both WiFi and 3G starting today. Update: Others with first-generation iPhones here in the Media Center report that the iTunes store appears to work over EDGE, too, but weren't able to test it.

As many expected, Schiller announced new sales figures for the iTunes store, saying Apple has 75 million accounts, and is now the number-one music retailer in the United States.

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