back to article iTunes battles Amazon with DRM-free price drop

Apple has responded to the launch of Amazon's DRM-free music download store with a price cut to its own iTunes Plus. Amazon finally opened its store last month - though only to US customers - charging $0.89 per song. It'll surprise few Apple watchers to learn that its discount from $1.29 to $0.99 has only been announced for …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    iTunes stuff is not DRM free

    Even the 'DRM' free stuff has the 'convert to mp3' menu item blocked. Jobs says one thing but does another and he's trying to hang onto his precious DRM at all costs.

    I wonder how long before the UK wakes up and removes that clause in copyright law that prevents parallel importing. It's dumb that UK can't source the cheapest version of a product in the world market, and has to pay a penalty as a result.

  2. Leigh Smith
    Thumb Down


    Nice to see technology companies are still using the old $1 = £1 exchange rate even though the $1 isn't even worth 50p at the moment.

  3. Paul Talbot


    Yeah, that's the beauty of the region-restricted digital sales. Since Amazon aren't allowed to sell DRM-free music outside of the US yet, they aren't competing so Apple want to keep the profit margin. Strangly, though, there's no such region restriction if I buy a CD from Amazon US. Nor is there region restriction on The Pirate Bay.. yes, it's another foot-shooting from the music industry (e.g. their contracts are what's regionalising the digital retailers).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    were happy to sell me albums from their new service.

    I have a US address registered with them and that seems to be enough for their checks. My IP and credit card are UK.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    7digital - EMI catalog from 50p up

    OK - so iTunes is a rip off... go figure. I urge you to check out the store at, who are selling the same, 320kbps MP3s from EMI for excellent, flexible pricing. OK, so you have to LOOK for the music you want (their UI could do with some WORK) but they give great value...

  6. Smell My Finger

    Let the free music rants begin

    There is no "clause in copyright law that prevents parallel importing" - that's a figment of your imagination. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 doesn't cover this in anyway unless you're infringing copyright in terms of importing an infringing work. There is nothing in law to stop any copyright holder from deciding which territories may or may not get a work and what price they choose to make them available at. Most global companies don't allow grey importing whether it's music, cars, electronics or whatever. In any free market a producer is free to set the price at whatever he or she thinks they can sell something for. The idea that prices globally should be set at one level is absolutely fatuous and is based on the comedic idealism which says prices should be set at what consumers are prepared to pay as opposed to real world pricing that says it should set at the most you can squeeze out of people.

    I am still puzzled as to why the better off who enjoy the "benefits" of capitalism are the ones who want some kind of entertainment subsidy whilst seemingly caring not one bit about actually significant downsides of capitalism, who gives a shit about the poor as long you're getting free downloads, eh?

  7. Steve Todd Silver badge

    Re: "iTunes stuff is not DRM free"

    Mr Coward, you seem to be mistaken over your definition of DRM.

    If you can play it on any machine that you like, burn it to CD without limit or transcode to any other format (OK, so iTunes doen't help you here, but it's not the only audio software in the world) then it's DRM free.

    Apple does embed licenced user data into the AAC, which is probably why they're not going to make it easy for you to strip it out durring transcoding, but that's not the same as limiting the platforms on which you can use the music, which is what DRM is all about.

  8. Adrian Bool


    Maybe I'm just warped by the Reality Distortion field, but given that Apple is a US company, based in California, any changes are bound to start from there - does it not seem sensible to give them the benefit of the doubt and at least wait 24 hours before bashing them over pricing differences between trading zones???

  9. Andy

    Mistakes corrected:

    "Even the 'DRM' free stuff has the 'convert to mp3' menu item blocked." - this is simply wrong. I just converted an iTunes Plus track to verify.

    Also, the price drop does apply to the UK. Please learn to read press releases.

  10. Warren
    Jobs Halo

    re: 7digital - EMI catalog from 50p up

    You mean 79p per track, with the 50p only if an album is offered at 12 tracks for 7.99? oh yeah, and most encoded in wma which is the M$ version of lockdown which Apple and ipod cannot play. Oh yes, what a deal. Cheers.

    I remember the first iTunes voucher someone got me, so I got a double album of Smashing Pumpkins with 23 tracks on it for £7.99 ~23p per track?

    Stop wasting our time.

  11. Mectron

    no clue

    There is market: Earth.

    also there is one king of music thief: Apple as they show once more to the world that they will do everything to -->steal<-- money as mush as they can with illegal DRM lock out and illegal variable pricing arcoding to region.

    Apple is a evil company, iPhone(pod) is a nothing but hype and Piratebay still have a century or two before the digital mafia (MPAA/RIAA) is definitly shutdown.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iTunes Plus is DRM free

    iTunes Plus downloads certainly are DRM-free. They transcode to MP3 (or lower bandwidth AAC) just fine, even in iTunes.

    I don't know why the first poster is having a problem but there is no duplicitous Jobsian conspiracy here, I re-encode lots of iTunes Plus tracks down to 128k to fit on my teeny 1GB nano…

  13. Lance

    The Beatles

    Maybe it’s because you created the Beatles and Apple is trying to get their legal fees paid for somehow.

  14. andy

    @smell my finger

    "There is nothing in law to stop any copyright holder from deciding which territories may or may not get a work"

    But there are no longer any feasible means of stopping people in other territories getting it.

    "In any free market a producer is free to set the price at whatever he or she thinks they can sell something for."

    Yes, and more and more people are saying 'its not worth that'.

    "The idea that prices globally should be set at one level is absolutely fatuous and is based on the comedic idealism which says prices should be set at what consumers are prepared to pay"

    I don't know if this is a joke or what... companies who try and sell something for more than consumers are willing to pay don't last very long.

    Today with the ease of global travel and communication things are very different than they used to be and in the long run the companies that are going to stay profitable are the ones that adapt, not the ones that fight the changes every step of the way badgering, abusing and eventually alienating their customers.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    You sir, rock !

    Let the revolution commence.... at flank speed

  16. Clive Galway

    @ Smell My Finger

    That may hold true for physical goods.

    A CD player has to pass CE licensing etc, has to be imported, english manuals printed, a CD has to be pressed in the country or imported and associated taxes paid, etc, etc.

    But this is a DIGITAL download. We are getting exactly the same product as the americans, it costs the same to make, the same to host it on the same website, etc, etc.

    If they suddenly said "All credit card numbers ending in a 9 pay 2x what everyone else does"- would you still agree?

    Anyway, as the previous poster said, just buy from Amazon US - all you need is a delivery address in the US (Use Amazon's own address).

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