In a Hypebot post calling out Steve Jobs for not being quick enough on the DRM-free draw with labels who already offer their content unprotected at sites like eMusic, a commenter named “Anon y Maus” said that, in fact, unprotected AACs from many labels would probably be showing up on the site soon:
My company is one of the largest providers of indepenent music to iTunes. Apple has written a new clause into our contract to ask us to deliver everything as unprotected master files, to be sold with no DRM. Not only that but we will RE-deliver everything we have ever sent them, as higher bitrate, no DRM.
What’s interesting to us about this tip is the fact that Apple will be renegotating its contracts with the major labels soon–and the labels are said to be asking for iTunes to start a subscription service, which gives them a steady revenue stream, or the option for variable pricing, which will up their profits. Will Apple only budge on the variable-pricing tip if iTunes is allowed to offer higher-quality, DRM-free files from the labels that want it? And wouldn’t the whole idea of a subscription service require some sort of DRM on the files, unless iTunes used the eMusic model and allowed users to download–and keep–a certain number of files per month, based on how much they paid? If you have any tips on how these negotiations will be going–or when iTunes will let other DRM-free content into its store’s fray–send us your tips; we promise to keep them all anonymous (or Anon y Maus, if cute twists on spelling are more your bag).