Last week, Apple announced it would be removing DRM from music served through the iTunes store. This is great news for DJ who rely on iTunes, although you may be paying more. With the change, iTunes implemented a new pricing tier, top-hit tracks are going to be $1.29 per song, lesser known and older tracks are going to be $.69 a song, the rest will fall to the regular $.99 price. If iTunes is not your key source for music you are not going to gain much from this change.
iTunes move makes its services more competitive to Amazon MP3, which I find to have deeper discounts. An advantage Amazon has is it has been serving DRM-free music in the common MP3 format. Apple’s AAC+ audio format is higher quality but not accessible by popular DJ software, a problem I believe falls on the shoulders of software developers not Apple. Although this issue plagues PC DJ’s more than Mac DJ’s. Converting music from AAC+ to MP3 used to be a tedious task now made easy by changing your import settings in iTunes and right clicking on your music file.
iTunes has always lagged behind online music stores who cater to the needs of a DJ. Beatport, for example, caters to electronic music with the DJ in mind. It provides a much larger and provides a larger electronic music library than iTunes and serves music in three formats, MP3, AAC+, and WAV. The downside is Beatport is more expensive, although the cost is well worth it. iTunes new pricing model is still cheaper than Beatport, however it intrigues me the most. I’m fairly neutral about the change but I wonder if other retailers are going to follow a similar pricing scheme, which can be both good and bad. While iTunes has made it more accessible for DJ’s to get more music, I do hope this change pushes a wider acceptance of the AAC+ audio format.
DRM-free music through iTunes is a monumental move, personally I’ve switched to Amazon some time ago, but still use iTunes to add to my music library.