I don't want to start any blasphemous rumors... but 'groundbreaking electro legends' isn't the first phrase I'd use to describe Depeche Mode. (In case you were wondering, that first phrase would be 'New Wave, eminently danceable Brit synth veterans,' but right there you have ample reason why I write about computers and not bands.)
In any case, Dave Gahan, Martin L. Gore & co. will be the first band to offer an iTunes Pass. Customers can pay $19 to pre-order the band's next album, Sounds of the Universe, and get 'Wrong' (the first single) and a dub remix immediately. Over the next 3+ months, they'll automatically get the new album along with additional tracks and video exclusives. From the EMI release:
"The relationship between Depeche Mode and their fans has always been our top priority," said the band's manager, Jonathan Kessler. "We are thrilled to be the first to participate with Apple in giving fans the kind of deep musical experience they expect from Depeche Mode."Truth is, I don't see much difference between the iTunes Pass approach and a "special edition" iTunes expanded album with videos + singles added on, except that this has the same effect as a television show's Season Pass of frontloading the revenue and dribbling the content out over several weeks. Granted, for DM fans this is a nice way of jumping into the new stuff and getting extra goodies, but it's not a dramatically different way of delivering music. If you want to find out more about iTunes Pass provisions (yes, all the music will be DRM-free iTunes Plus tracks), check out the details page within iTunes.