Apple made several announcements in regards to its iTunes music store.
The first new feature is iTunes Plus. For $1.29, which is 30 cents more than other songs, Apple will start offering DRM-free music encoded with higher quality 256kbps AAC.
iTunes will continue to offer its entire catalog, currently over five million songs, in the same versions as today—128 kbps AAC encoding with DRM—at the same price of 99 cents per song, alongside the higher quality iTunes Plus versions when available. In addition, iTunes customers can now easily upgrade their library of previously purchased EMI content to iTunes Plus tracks for just 30 cents a song and $3.00 for most albums.
The second new feature is iTunes U, a dedicated area within the iTunes store to download free content from U.S. colleges and universities. This includes course lectures, language lessons, lab demonstrations, sports highlights and campus tours.
“iTunes U makes it easy for anyone to access amazing educational material from many of the country’s most respected colleges and universities,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes. “Education is a lifelong pursuit and we’re pleased to give everyone the ability to download lectures, speeches and other academic content for free.”