UPDATED: iTunes yesterday began selling thousands of higher quality EMI tracks DRM free and added an upgrade option for previous purchases. But the offering dubbed iTunes Plus comes with some major baggage that may not please consumers.
First, iTunes Plus requires a software upgrade and then asks users to choose an option that allows them see available DRM free tracks when searching for an artist or album. But once consumers choose the iTunes Plus option and look for an EMI act, the results will only show the $1.29 DRM free download. The original $.99 EMI track with DRM is no longer available to iTunes Plus consumers unless they go back and switch their settings before each search or purchase.
But that's just the beginning...
Apple is permanently attaching the purchaser's name and email address to every download for the whole world to see. Apparently, iTunes does this even with non-DRM free tracks. But the info like the track was encrypted; and who was going to try to trade a restricted track anyway?
The move is apparently aimed at stopping piracy. But with the info open to spoofing how reliable is it? And how will Apple use or share the information? Thus far Apple has not commented, but the blogs are burning with indignation. "Apple and EMI can't cover up the fact that they're fucking with us. This is WORSE than restricted/DRM/copy-protected music!" cried Bob Lefsetz.
HYPEBOT COMMENTARY: How could Steve Jobs not have understood that there would not be consumer backlash at adding personal info to each track? And what made Apple think that consumers don't sometimes want to pay more for DRM free tracks and at other times prefer the $.99 version?
Is Job's desire to control each transaction so great that he doesn't care if he pisses off the consumer? It makes one wonder if all of the pontification from Jobs about a DRM free music world isn't a smokescreen and his real endgame is to make sure that EMI's DRM free experiment fails.
After all, if the iPod and iTunes combo remains a closed loop; the consumer is forced to buy there.
Please tell us that this isn't part of Amazon's mp3 plan...