Apple Launches DRM-Less EMI Range At ‘iTunes Plus’, Academic Partnership Too

After all the earlier fanfare, the EMI’s DRM-free, double-quality, more-expensive music line-up arrived on iTunes Store today under the new iTunes Plus brand (iTunes link) with a more muted appearance – and, yes, Paul McCartney is there (iTunes link). The offering is as previously announced – 256Kbps AAC files with no copy protection and for 30 cents more – except that it requires a new software download, iTunes 7.2. The upgrade’s release notes state the feature includes tracks “from participating music labels”, leaving the door open for labels other than EMI. Over half of iTunes Store’s inventory should be available on iTunes Plus by the end of the year, Steve Jobs said in the release. (Jobs is appearing alone and with Bill Gates at the D conference today. Rafat will have more later.)

The new release also includes another new section, iTunes U, incorporating audio lectures and speeches from U.S. universities (Release).