iTunes DRM-stripping fee is all or nothing

By Justin Mann on January 14, 2009, 2:32 PM
Apple announced some really good news for iTunes users at CES last week, revealing that the music and video download service was finally going entirely DRM-free. They also provided a path to “upgrade” already-purchased music to strip it of DRM, charging 30 cents per song in order to accomplish it – a steep fee for some, but at least a manageable way to handle it. They did take some flak over the decision to charge, mitigated somewhat by the fact that new songs on iTunes would be sold for 30 cents more regardless.

There's more to the story with iTunes and DRM-free music, and now we're hearing that if you choose to pay the fee to strip DRM on your music you have no choice but to upgrade your entire collection. Rather than letting people select certain songs or even albums, iTunes will only give you the option of paying the fee for your entire collection or using it as is. Given that a library of 1000 would cost around $300, I'm betting that most people will give that option a pass.

It seems strange Apple would not give users the choice to migrate certain portions of their library over to a DRM-free format. What logic is there in such a decision?

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