iTunes Goes DRM-Free, Changes Pricing System

Apple has finally decided to heed the calls and pull all Digital Rights Management (DRM) protection from its iTunes tracks.

The decision, announced at the Macworld Expo today, will be fully in effect by the end of March. Already, about 8 million of iTunes’ 10 million tracks are available for DRM-free downloads, Apple says.

The change is accompanied by a shift in pricing. Rather than offering all songs at a rate of 99 cents, iTunes will soon introduce a three-tiered system. Beginning in April, songs will be available for either 69 cents, 99 cents, or $1.29. Apple’s Phil Schiller said the decision will be made based on what record company is behind the song. He also said more tracks will be at the 69 cent rate than the $1.29 rate.

Finally, as of today, iTunes purchases will be made available over 3G networks for iPhone users. Previously, iPhone users had to connect via a Wi-Fi connection in order to make a purchase.