The new iTunes Plus portion of the online iTunes Store is now available, offering higher-priced, higher-quality, DRM-free songs and albums you can play on any device and copy endlessly. These tunes are from EMI, as reported here previously.
The news media had a momentary lapse of reason about personal information in the song tracks. Apple’s new DRM-free songs still have your full name and account e-mail embedded in them, just like the lower-priced songs sold on iTunes. According to Ars Technica (“Apple hides account info in DRM-free music, too” by Ken Fisher), “The hidden data [in the DRM-free songs] is more significant since it could theoretically be used to trace shared tunes back to the original owner.” But of course all iTunes-purchased songs have this data, which is really not so hidden — it’s plain text, according to “iTunes Plus scaremongering” by Stephen Withers in itwire. The point is that DRM-free songs might be shared; and if they are, Apple or the record labels could track it.
As of one day after it was announced, boomers rule. Of the top 25 songs, 15 are from boomer artists such as Pink Floyd and The Beach Boys (12 are by Paul McCartney!). The #1 album is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Paul’s Band on the Run is #3; conspicuously absent are Beatles albums but that seems only temporary. Where is all the new music? It is certainly hyped on the front page of iTunes Plus but it has to compete with the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and even Frank Sinatra.
The Baby Boomer generation still has more influence than most people think. We are not all washed up… yet. 40 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper by the Beatles (read a brief history, or read the news story) was introduced to the world, and we still celebrate it. How many other music albums are celebrated this way? And as the titans of our industry, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, put on a show for the technorati this week, the word was love in all the press reports, and Jobs even quoted from the song “Two of Us” to summarize their technobuddy relationship. On the day that Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band arrives in the iTunes store, the entire world will know about it. Unfortunately today is not that day. Maybe next week.