iTunes and EMI songs are still not DRM free.

At this point everyone has probably heard that Apple and EMI have partnered and will offer DRM (digital rights management) free songs on iTunes for 30 cents more than the DRM infected songs they were selling before. Granted, they will be 256Kbps instead of the old 128. However, I was reading conflicting reports whether Apple was going to offer songs in MP3 format or continue to offer songs in their proprietary AAC format. At this point it looks like they are still going to continue selling songs on iTunes in AAC. Honestly, selling songs in AAC is pretty much the same as having DRM. Talk about a bait and switch operation. Apple and EMI get tons of press and all we get is some better quality sounding songs for $1,29?? Seriously, Steve Jobs only needs to fart and the cool-aid drinking press eat it up like it’s the most important news story of the millennium. I know that you Mac die hards out there are probably blowing some fuses but you have to realize that your beloved Apple and their proprietary hardware and software are no different than the boys from Redmond. They are actually better at the game than Microsoft.

So what can you do with AAC files? Play them in iTunes and on your iPod….that’s it! If you want to play them on any other MP3 player you’ll still need to convert the files. Sounds like this new arrangement is still in Apple’s favor. Maybe it’ll get the anti-trust guys in Europe off their backs for a while, but until Apple starts offering DRM free songs in MP3 format, you’re still stuck using their software and hardware. What a thrill to pay more for the same! Thanks Apple!

If you want to purchase real DRM free songs check out They don’t have all the big labels, but tons and tons of great indie and up and coming acts.

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  1. AAC is not a proprietary Apple format, it is part of the MPEG-4 standard, just as MP3 is part of the MPEG-1 standard. It wasn’t even developed by Apple.

    While it is true that AAC files purchased from iTunes with DRM can only play on iPods, AAC files without DRM (like the soon to be offered EMI files) can play on a number of portable players including Zune, Sansa, Sony PSP + Walkman, and a number of portable phones.

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