iTunes Going All DRM-Free for Music

The software news out of the MacWorld keynote is far more interesting than the new hardware. I will be getting the iLife and iWork updates as I use both suites regularly. I am glad iWork didn’t go all web, we’ll see how well the new online service complements the desktop apps.

The biggest news, of course, is that the iTunes store is going DRM-free for its music catalog. I checked after I saw this story and while not all my purchased music has the upgrade option, yet, I was surprised that about six more albums had been freed up. I have seen some complaints of the cost but I think it is worth it to secure the freedom of my media. It also means I’ll once again consider buying new music from iTunes, including over WiFi with my iPod Touch.

There is no news on any of the other media in the iTunes store. That means it is pretty much a certainty that this deal is only for music. Audiobooks are all provided by Audible, now owned by Amazon, who has not made good on any promises to free up their offerings. Video across the board has been lagging the music industry in abandoning DRM regardless of the outlet.

I am not sure the dynamics overall are anywhere close, that the draw for the iPod as a TV and movie player is strong enough to encourage competitors onto the device via unrestricted formats. Add in the traction streaming services, like Hulu, have gained and I am not sure this same scenario will ever play out. Still, I think it is worth continuing to push on iTunes and Amazon on DRM for other media. Every day that they continue to profit from DRM-free music is a day’s more data of convincing them that the type of content is irrelevant to the question of digital locks.

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