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iTunes Plus coming to 3 remaining majors?

updated 03:40 pm EST, Wed November 19, 2008

iTunes Plus Talk Rumors

Apple is discussing deals with the three major music labels yet to sign on to iTunes Plus to remove the locks on their music as well, alleged sources tell CNET. Two reported contacts describe "preliminary" negotiations that would expand Apple's deal for music without copy protection beyond EMI and independents to include Sony, Warner and Universal. The talks are said to have been spread over the past several months for at least two labels and aren't certain to result in a favorable income.

The report claims that the switch would use MP3s as the choice of format to produce truly cross-platform files usable anywhere, though such a switch would be unusual for Apple. Current iTunes Plus files are encoded in unprotected AAC, which itself is a standard and is playable on competing devices such as Microsoft's Zune lineup and Sony Walkman players.

A change to music free of Digital Rights Management (DRM) on iTunes would represent a dramatic shift away from copy protection in digital music but also a relatively late shift for Apple. Online retailers such as Amazon MP3, Napster, Rhapsody and Walmart have all either launched or converted to DRM-free music stores in the past as they have seen relatively little uptake for protected Windows Media or other non-Apple formats.

Certain cases, such as Universal's initial ventures with Rhapsody and Walmart, are believed by some to have been deliberate attempts to heat competition with iTunes by giving rivals iPod-ready music as well as to gauge the impact of opening music to competition.

It would also partly dismantle complaints from Norwegian officials and other government bodies accusing Apple of an unfair tie-in between iTunes songs and iPods that prevents competing players and software from working with Apple products.

By Electronista Staff


  1. MyRightEye

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008



    do not have ONLY MP3. AAC is a much better format.

  1. shawnce

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2000


    AAC please...

    I don't understand the request for MP3... AAC playback is basically as open as MP3 is and most recent hardware has the ability to play AAC via a hardware accelerated codec (assuming the software managing the device allows it).

    I can get a lower bit rate stream in AAC that has better/equal audio quality then a higher bit rate MP3 stream, I would hate to lose that advantage.

    If folks don't want AAC then they can easily purchase songs from a different online store and those will be equally supported by iPods/iPhones/iTunes.

  1. MacDan2004

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2004


    No to MP3

    AAC sounds much better than MP3 and I will not go back to MP3. If that is their deal, I would rather buy protected AAC.And as others have stated - AAC is an OPEN format people. No reason to shy away from it. It is NOT Apple proprietary.

  1. bsnoel

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2006


    Plus For Me

    For me iTunes Plus is at best only a small step in the right direction because it removes DRM. To me, a true plus version would be a high quality loss-less file format that I can store on iTunes, that would further compress on the fly to a bit rate that I specify when I sync to an iPod. That way I could have a high quality loss-less iTunes Library to play at home, and I could still fit all my music on an iPod for mobile usage.

    After doing some critical listening with a good CD player, it is not hard to tell the difference between CD and run of the mill 128Kbps files.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    The request for MP3 would be to increase the potential purchasing base, as it has a much higher usability rate on players than MP4 does. And, as you know, the labels are all about how much money they can make.

    The best solution would be to give the user the option. Then again, how many people with another player are using iTunes anyway, since Apple took out all third-party player support?

  1. resuna

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2005


    Say what?

    "Then again, how many people with another player are using iTunes anyway, since Apple took out all third-party player support?"

    How did Apple do that when they never HAD any explicit 3rd party player support, and dragging files from iTunes to a USB drive (which is all they ever supported for 3rd party players) still works just fine?

  1. Fast iBook

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003



    AAC only please. Thanks.

  1. ccrider

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2001



    24bit/192kHz HD-AAC only please. Thanks.


  1. dimmer

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Feb 2006



    Is probably thinking of the SoundJam MP program, which supported almost all MP3 players before Apple bought the product, made it into iTunes, and made it iPod specific.

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