First iTunes Plus tracks, albums appear in iTunes Store [updated] | iLounge News

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First iTunes Plus tracks, albums appear in iTunes Store [updated]

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Following last night’s release of iTunes 7.2 with support for DRM-free music downloads, the iTunes Store is now in the process of adding those tracks, dubbed “iTunes Plus” songs. A banner from the iTunes Store’s main page directs users to a list of albums available in the 256Kbps AAC format, including catalog releases by Paul McCartney, Coldplay, Frank Sinatra, the Rolling Stones, Gorillaz and Norah Jones. The list appears to be actively under construction at press time.

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Album prices for iTunes Plus start at $9.99, but can go higher, as Coldplay’s X & Y lists for $11.99, and Gorillaz’ Demon Days lists for $12.99. Individual songs can be purchased for $1.29, with a new + icon indicating that the songs are iTunes Plus rather than prior 99-cent iTunes downloads. Upon first selecting the iTunes Plus banner, iTunes presents you with the option to always display the iTunes Plus version of an album or music video by default, or rather to show the lower-quality, DRM-laden version instead.

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Some of the spotlighted albums on iTunes appear not yet to have been completely transitioned from iTunes to iTunes Plus format. For instance, the Beastie Boys’ Check Your Head shows an iTunes Plus album purchase option, but does not include iTunes Plus song downloads, directing you instead to the older 99-cent tracks. It’s unclear at the moment whether this will be remedied with subsequent iTunes Store catalog updates, or whether some artists will only allow their music to be purchased without DRM when in album form.

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Updated: Additional iTunes Plus tracks are in the process of being added to the iTunes Store this morning, fixing the “albums but no songs” issue above. Also, iLounge editors and readers are being presented with an Upgrade My Library option to enhance their existing collections of qualifying purchased iTunes Store music at a cost of 30 cents per track (US). Currently limited by participating labels, only those purchased tracks with iTunes Plus versions can be upgraded to the new and improved format.

Below, you can see comparison shots of iTunes Plus and iTunes track downloads. The only differences shown between the two tracks are as follows:

Kind: is now listed as Purchased AAC audio file rather than Protected AAC audio file. We have deleted from both photos the purchaser information, however, all tracks are tagged with the name and e-mail address of the person who downloaded them.

Size: has almost doubled from 3.5MB to 6.8MB.

Bit Rate: has doubled from 128Kbps to 256Kbps.

FairPlay Version information has disappeared from the DRM-less iTunes Plus track.

Where: shows the new filename, which is an M4A AAC file rather than an M4P AAC file.

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Comments

21

After upgrading to iTunes 7.2, I synced my 5G 80GB iPod and received an error message that said to the effect that 101 songs will not be synced to my iPod because they are a file type that will not work with this iPod. Those files are in fact MP3’s, from protected AAC’s which were purchased on iTunes, burned to CD’s, then ripped back into iTunes so that I can play them on my car’s CD/MP3 player. I restored the iPod, but it still won’t sync those tracks. Anyone seen this problem? Should I install iTunes 7.1 and forget about iTunes plus then?

Posted by Gary in Ottawa on May 31, 2007 at 6:16 AM (PDT)

22

I’m suprised no-one seems to have mentioned that for the price of the bigger named artist higher CD quality albums, you could buy the actual CD. Yes it might take a couple of days longer, but I know which I would rather have.

Posted by Greg Edwards on May 31, 2007 at 9:58 AM (PDT)

23

Though it’s been quickly referred to, I thiink (or hope) it’s the large crunch of users downloading that is causing the timeouts.  I had about 60 songs total to upgrade, but only 3 or 4 dowmloaded before I got error message after error message.  I finally paused it and will try again another day.  I also noticed how several albums I bought seem eligible to be upgraded but did not come along “upgrade my music” list.

Posted by Bill on May 31, 2007 at 11:30 AM (PDT)

24

Greg-

You can basically buy almost everything as a CD for $9.99 if you shop around.  People download from iTunes as a convenience, mostly.

I myself prefer to buy the CD and rip it myself.  I just use iTunes for one-off songs and hard-to-find EPs.

Posted by jhart71 on May 31, 2007 at 12:01 PM (PDT)

25

I’ve upgraded iTunes to the new 7.2, and found the you must go into your iTunes account settings to enable (Plus). With the heavy traffic today, downloading and moving around in iTunes’ Store is quite slow.  I’ll wait until the rush is over before deciding to upgrade my library. Perhaps my imagination, but I could hear a slight difference in the volume and sound quality when comparing a couple of songs. Also, with the higher Bit Rate and almost doubled File size, I wonder if the upgrade would be worth the extra expense.

Posted by pamela on May 31, 2007 at 3:13 PM (PDT)

26

has anyone else not been able to listen to samples of the iTunes plus songs? it’s really bothering me…

Posted by Jordan on May 31, 2007 at 4:45 PM (PDT)

27

Clearly, Apple has some issues to work out. I’ll probably wait a few weeks before trying to upgrade.

Posted by technolawyer on May 31, 2007 at 5:39 PM (PDT)

28

Introducing iTunes Plus – Higher Quality – DRM free.  AAC Audio - Small Files - Large Sounds.  Anyone else notice the near contradictory nature of these marketing descriptions?  Having listened to the same music recorded from CD at 128 and 256 kbps, my tendency would be to keep faith with the earlier description; not to mention the reduced number of music files each iPod would be capable of storing at the higher bit rate.  I wonder if the demographic of people who habitually buy the same music in each newly-introduced format is statistically significant enough to merit this kind of approach?  Obviously it is!

Posted by Dominic Walshe on June 1, 2007 at 1:29 AM (PDT)

29

So…does the ipod play music back at this higher bit rate?

Posted by coda95 on June 1, 2007 at 8:53 AM (PDT)

30

Hey Jordan, you’re not the only one who can’t hear previews of Plus songs.  Hear (pun intended) I was thinking it was my connection.  Time for another email to Apple support.

Posted by entogeek on June 1, 2007 at 10:35 AM (PDT)

31

To answer coda95’s question, yes - the iPod does play the music at the higer bit rate.  Actually, there’s a good article and discussion elsewhere on this website that I just discovered: http://ilounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/hi-fi-drm-free-itunes-audio-our-thoughts-and-yours/

Posted by Dominic Walshe on June 2, 2007 at 11:47 AM (PDT)

32

Will the ipod play if music is imported at different bit rates?

Posted by coda95 on June 4, 2007 at 12:46 PM (PDT)

33

Is there a way to upgrade only a portion of your current collection?  The FAQ at the Apple Store says you have to upgrade everything.

Thanks -

dewarner

Posted by dewarner12 on June 4, 2007 at 1:28 PM (PDT)

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