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iTunes upgrade – DRM free at last!

I just got the notification on iTunes that there’s an upgrade available to 7.2. So I hopped over to macrumors.com to see what was new. And there it was, iTunes PLUS, DRM free music available at 256kbps. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time for two reasons:

1. I’m a snob and prefer higher bit-rates (my CD collection is ripped to FLAC for my Squeezebox players);
2. Apple DRMed files don’t play on the Squeezebox

So this week I bought 9 CDs, not something I do every week but I just got paid and I’m filling in holes (all the old Wonder Stuff CDs and the new one, and all the Muse CDs).

For the last year I’ve been ripping everything to FLAC onto a server and it took me pretty much most of the year to get through them all. Then a couple of months ago I got rid of ALL my CD jewel cases and put the disks and inlays into CD ring-binders. The amount of space I got back was incredible.

So, I’m excited that DRM free music is now a feasible option for me, although I would like to see higher bit-rates even than 256 kbps before I declare the CD dead to me. But I can live happily with 256 if it’s DRM free and means instant gratification.

I just bought my first iTunes PLUS album, Genesis — Duke (2007 Remastered) but only two tunes downloaded before the server timed out. Same deal when I hit the upgrade button in the iTunes store to upgrade the few DRMed songs I did buy to non-DRM. I guess Apple’s servers will be getting slammed for the next few weeks while folks upgrade their libraries. It will be interesting to hear the stats about how many people are actually upgrading.

It also means I’m much less likely to use P2P to get instant gratifcation. In fact I just shut Soulseek down to kill my Genesis downloads!

I see this as a milestone in the digital revolution. May you live in exciting times, as the old Chinese proverb allegedly goes. These are certainly those!