I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

iTunes "Plus" Upgrade

Today when I logged-into the iTunes Music Store, I was alerted that I could "upgrade" two albums I had purchased to their newer, higher-quality "Plus" tracks for $6. This upgrade would improve the quality, supposedly, and remove the DRM-restrictions. I took the bait. I was disappointed that this music was only encoded originally at 128kbits. And unlike Amazon's VBR-encoding that "changes" the encoding depending upon the complexity of the material, Apple's are all 256kbit encodes. (Yes, I know, VBR can provide better over-all quality, and I have many tracks encoded in VBR, but at substantially higher bit-rates.) One problem: as iTunes started to download these new replacement tracks, it locked up, and was not behaving. After force-quitting and restarting, I had to visit my account to renew the downloads, and it locked up again. After force-quitting a second time, I upgraded to the latest copy of iTunes, and the third try was successful. I like the freedom... iTunes or Amazon... DRM-free. I think any competitor needs to follow in these footsteps... to offer DRM-free music, at competitive prices, that play on all players. "Technology independent," in other words. If Universal, Microsoft, Real, or anyone else doesn't get it... I don't think they'll be successful.

Feltsman on Die Kunst der Fuge