By Martin Vedris
SYDNEY: Apple today announced that it has expanded its iTunes Plus offering to over two million tracks and lowered the price of all iTunes Plus tracks to A$1.69 inc GST.
According to Apple, all iTunes Plus tracks feature DRM-free music with high quality 256 kbps AAC encoding for audio quality virtually indistinguishable from the original recordings.
The iTunes Plus catalog is now the largest DRM-free catalog in the world, and includes artists from Sub Pop, Nettwerk, Beggars Group, IODA, The Orchard and many others, along with EMI’s digital catalog.
“iTunes Plus has been incredibly popular with our customers and now we’re making it available at an even more affordable price,” said Apple’s vice president of iTunes, Eddy Cue.
“We’re adding over two million tracks from key independent labels in addition to EMI’s digital catalog and look forward to even more labels and artists making their music available on iTunes Plus.”
EMI began offering their catalog on iTunes Plus earlier this year, and their selection has grown to include singles and albums from the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Norah Jones, Frank Sinatra and the solo catalogs of all four Beatles.
With the expansion of iTunes Plus, customers can now download tracks from a variety of labels without limitations on the type of music player or number of computers that purchased songs can be played on. In a statement, Apple said that iTunes Plus songs purchased from the iTunes Store will play on all iPods, iPhone, Windows or Mac computers, widescreen TVs with Apple TV, as well as many other digital music players.
According to Apple, the iTunes Store offers over four million songs, 7,000 music videos, 100,000 podcasts and 20,000 audiobooks and has sold over three billion songs worldwide. The company stated that the iTunes Store has become the number three music retailer in the US, surpassing both Amazon and Target. The company said it bases this claim on data from market research firm the NPD Group’s MusicWatch survey that captures consumer reported past week unit purchases weighted so that one CD equals 12 tracks, excluding wireless transactions.