• Apple & Major Labels Already Reached DRM-Free Agreement?

    Last week we posted about rumors that Apple had entered talks with the remaining labels that are still requiring that their music is DRM protected when sold via iTunes. It now appears that Apple may have already finalized talks with the three remaining labels with DRM music on iTunes.

    According to distorted-loop tracks from the three hold out labels (Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony BMG) have started appearing as iTunes Plus DRM-free upgrades in the iTunes store. Rakimís "The 18th Letter/The Book of Life" is available in iTunes as an upgrade to iTunes Plus. This album is via Universal which as of last week was one of the three remaining labels that only offered DRM music in iTunes. Another example that was pointed out by a MacRumors user is the "St. Elsewhere" by Gnarls Barkley album which is also available for upgrade along with many other albums from Warner Music Group.

    We could be on the initial wave of the transformation of the entire iTunes Store to DRM free content and a major question comes up. How will Apple price these iTunes Plus albums to be competitive against other online music stores? Currently the DRM music is $0.99/song. iTunes Plus music costs a bit more. As DRM-free music becomes the iTunes standard will Apple lower DRM prices in order to put the DRM-free tracks at the normal $0.99?
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