Apple cuts price on DRM-free music to 99 cents

Move brings Apple's pricing closer to Amazon

Apple has cut the price of its DRM-free music from $US1.29 to US99 cents, the same amount it charges for songs encoded with its FairPlay DRM technology. The move brings Apple's pricing closer to that of Amazon, which recently began selling DRM-free music for US99 cents or lower.

Apple's DRM-free music catalog is largely made up of artists from EMI -- Apple and EMI signed a deal to offer higher-quality songs with no DRM, but the songs were priced at a premium.

"iTunes Plus has been incredibly popular with our customers and now we're making it available at an even more affordable price," said Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr.

While Apple has relied on EMI to provide it with its DRM-free music, the company said more music is on the way. "We're adding over two million tracks from key independent labels in addition to EMI's digital catalog and look forward to even more labels and artists making their music available on iTunes Plus," said Neumayr.

Not only will the the DRM-free songs come down in price, they will also remain at the higher-quality bitrate of 256kbps AAC instead of the 128kbps AAC for DRM songs.

Amazon MP3 recently opened its own DRM-free music store. Amazon sells its music for between US89 cents and US99 cents, but analysts don't feel they will challenge Apple in the long run.

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