Looks like Ars was right about iTunes Plus changes today. iT+ tracks are now 99 cents (US), down from US$1.29, and there are a number of new tracks available from independent labels.
When I checked my iTunes Plus status (go to the iTunes Store’s home page, then look over on the right side for iTunes Plus), I was offered three upgrades (click for full size image):
The upgrade price remains US$3 per album, or 30 cents a track, even though the Plus price has dropped to the $9.99 album / 99c track that I paid originally. I wonder if the people who howled about the iPhone price cut are going to scream bloody murder about this too. Whatever, I want better sound and no DRM, and this is cheap. First rule of capitalism, kids: stuff is worth what people will pay for it.
Two upgrade weirdnesses: when I clicked “buy now”, I had to wait for an e-mail with the link to my upgraded songs:
What, are the indie records so low traffic that they’re ripping the Plus versions a la carte? Probably not; I got the e-mail within five minutes, and off I went.
Another difference I noticed is that the DRM’ed versions of these songs are put in an “Original iTunes Purchases” folder (as before), which is then put in the Trash. I don’t believe my last upgrade was automatically trashed like this.
So, anyways, I’m delighted to see more iTunes Plus music and a price cut, almost certainly a competitive response to the very impressive Amazon MP3 Downloads Store. But I do hope we see more indies on here… almost everything I listen to is indie (or imported game/anime music from Japan, c.f., my last.fm data), and those of you who listen to the CBC Radio 3 podcast will recognize Controller.Controller, Malajube, and Fond Of Tigers on my upgrade list above. Still, I can think of a lot more indies that I wasn’t offered upgrades of: Chixdiggit, The New Pornographers, You Say Party We Say Die, Bend Sinister, The Delgados, etc. I’ve got some anime music video plans that I’ll need non-DRM versions of Rilo Kiley and Immaculate Machine for, and I’d really rather work from a high-bitrate MP3 or AAC than have to resample with Audio Hijack Pro.
Still, this is a positive development. Let’s hope all the artists and labels participating in the DRM free stores — whether iTunes, Amazon, Snocap, or otherwise — do well. After all, there’s lots of great music out there to discover, and I have another 80 GB to fill on my iPod.