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ITunes Plus Is the Upgrade Worth It





Apple launched iTunes plus over a year ago, offering higher quality DRM-Free tracks through their iTunes store. For those of you who aren’t familiar with iTunes Plus, you’re probably asking what this means and perhaps even wondering how it will affect your iTunes music library. Well, the basics are pretty simple and it probably won’t make much of a difference to the music you’ve already purchased through iTunes. That is, of course, unless you plan to upgrade. Let’s take a look at what iTunes Plus is and what it would mean to upgrade your music collection.

First of all, with iTunes Plus all the music tracks are DRM-free and feature 256 kbps AAC encoding for extremely high quality audio. In fact, Apple claims that this new format makes the tracks “virtually indistinguishable from the original recordings.” DRM stands for “digital rights management,” so the new tracks no longer have restrictions when it comes to converting the files to different formats for use on non-Apple devices, and there’s also no limit on the number of computers you can play your purchased songs on. This offers a much greater degree of flexibility when it comes to how you use the music you’ve purchased.

Some people might not have taken notice of these new changes, but everyone who’s used to purchasing 99-cent tracks has most certainly noticed that as of April 2009 all their favorite songs have a brand new price: $1.29. This might not seem like much, but paying a 30% premium for DRM-free tracks and higher quality audio can certainly add up fast when you’re the type of person who buys several albums at a time.

So here’s the big question: do you upgrade all the existing tracks you’ve collected in your iTunes library over the past several years? It’s easy enough to do with a “one-click option,” but before you click, you might want to consider these pros and cons:

Price

It will cost you 30 cents to upgrade each track, or $3 per album. If you have, say, 200 albums in iTunes that could cost you a hefty $600!

Audio Quality

The older version tracks are already 128 kbps format, which produces very high quality audio. You might want to compare the 256 kbps and 128 kbps side-by-side before you pay big bucks to convert your whole collection to see if you even notice a difference. Most people don’t!

Compatibility

Do you have a new audio system or other device or application that doesn’t support AAC? If you’re a Windows person, it’s important to know that Windows Media Player isn’t compatible with the AAC format. With the new DRM-free tracks you can easily convert the files to MP3 format and won’t have to worry about compatibility issues.

Quality vs. Quantity

What’s more important to you, quality or quantity? You can fit twice as many 128 kbps files on your iPod as the 256 kbps files, and if you want all your music to fit in your pocket you might have a big reason to stick to the smaller files. The newest iPod shuffle with 4GB of storage holds 1000 songs – but only 500 if they’re the new 256 kbps files.

A year ago when Apple launched iTunes Plus, you still had the option of buying the lower quality format for a cheaper price. Now, like it or not, we all have to pay a little bit more for our favorite iTunes songs. But we do have an option when it comes to the tracks we already own. So, are YOU going to upgrade?
About Author Carl Berkeley :

MacUsersGuide offers the latest news, reviews, how-tos and expert opinions on everything Mac users need to know. Find reviews on the newest software for Macs at <a href="http://www.macusersguide.com" target="_blank">http://www.macusersguide.com</a>.


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