In advance of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ appearance at the D: All Things Digital Conference tomorrow in Carlsbad, California, Apple has released iTunes 7.2, an upgrade to its free digital media management software. Version 7.2 adds one feature—previously-announced support for the downloading of DRM-free songs, now dubbed “iTunes Plus,” which as noted by Apple in iTunes Help “have no usage restrictions and feature higher-quality recording.” Initially spearheaded by the music label EMI, but also backed by independent labels, the songs sell for $1.29 each and use 256Kbps AAC encoding for superior sound quality than standard iTunes Store music downloads.
As of press time, iTunes Plus songs are not yet available for download in the iTunes Store. However, according to Apple, “[t]he first time you buy an iTunes Plus song, you specify whether to make all future purchases iTunes Plus versions (when available). … If you already have iTunes Store purchases that are now available as iTunes Plus downloads, you may upgrade your existing purchases.” Both features, and changes thereto, can be accessed through your account at the iTunes Store.