Last night Apple released iTunes 7.2 . This new version of iTunes includes “iTunes Plus.” iTunes Plus offers and supports the new
DRM-free downloads Apple announced back in April.

Apple says “With iTunes 7.2, preview and purchase iTunes Plus music—new higher-quality, DRM-free music downloads from participating music labels.”

The DRM-free tracks will cost $1.29 vs $.99 per track, and are available in 256 kbps rather than 128 kbps AAC files.

Apple also says” iTunes Plus music is our DRM-free, highest quality audio format. iTunes Plus videos now contain our highest-quality audio tracks and are also DRM-free”

After downloading iTunes 7.2, you have to activate iTunes Plus in your account settings in the iTunes Store. You have the option to select “Always show me iTunes Plus music and music videos when available.”

EMI is listing it’s entire catalog as iTunes Plus (DRM-free) in the iTunes store. EMI also distributes Pink Floyd. So – for research purposes – I purchased Dark Side of the Moon as a DRM-free, iTunes Plus album (for less than $8) and listened to it via nice Grado Labs headphones this morning. It sounds great! l

Another nice feature of iTunes 7.2: You can upgrade existing songs to the iTunes Plus (DRM Free) version:

“The iTunes Store also offers songs without DRM protection, from participating record labels. These DRM-free songs, called “iTunes Plus,” have no usage restrictions and feature higher-quality encoding.

The first time you buy an iTunes Plus song, you specify whether to make all future purchases iTunes Plus versions (when available). You can change this setting by accessing your account information on the iTunes Store.

If you already have iTunes Store purchases that are now available as iTunes Plus downloads, you may upgrade your existing purchases. To do so, visit the iTunes Store and follow the onscreen instructions.”

As of this writing, the iTunes Store is very slow and acting flakey – probably from the massive traffic it currently attracting.

I don’t like DRM – I think it hinders rather than helps music sales. Also, I CAN hear the difference between 128 kbps and 256 kbps tracks if I’m using good headphones. So – this upgrade is good for me!

You can upgrade from Apple’s iTunes site by clicking here

Or, in the iTunes menu bar (on a Mac), click on iTunes > Check for Updates. Finally, you can update iTunes via your Macs Software Update utility. Do this by clicking on the blue Apple in the upper left hand side of your screen, then choose “Software Update.”

Let us know how it goes!

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