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iTunes Upgrade Paves Way For EMI's DRM Free Launch. Indies Left Wondering When They'll Be Invited.

A new upgrade 7.2 for iTunes which appeared late yesterday offers support for "iTunes Plus", the titleItunes Apple has given for the higher 256 bit-rate DRM free downloads from EMI.  These unprotected AAC tracks will sell for $1.29.

As of early Wednesday, no tracks were being offered in the new format; although they Applelogoare expected to become available later today or tomorrow just beating Apple's self imposed May deadline. 

iTunes is still silent, however, as to when DRM free tracks from hundreds of indie labels clamoring to offer them will become available.  While Apple sent a letter weeks ago asking indies to deliver mp3 masters, no label or distributor that we surveyed had been offered a launch date or the contract addendum that would be required to allow DRM free sales.

These delays by iTune's call into question both Apple's real enthusiasm for DRM free sales and the validitAmazony of any EMI only experiment. But they must be music to Amazon's ears as the internet giant rushes towards the launch of its DRM-free only store which promises a much broader  selection of untethered tracks.