Apple kicked off its final Macworld trade show in San Francisco Jan. 5 with announcements about new versions of the company’s photo management software and an update to its productivity suite. But in true Apple tradition, it was the company’s "one last thing" that had people talking, reports the Washington Post: iTunes will now sell songs without any restrictions and at three prices: 69 cents, 99 cents, and $1.29. During the keynote speech, Philip W. Schiller, Apple’s vice president of worldwide marketing, announced that music from four major record companies would be available through iTunes without the anti-piracy restrictions, allowing Apple to move away from a uniform price plan in which all songs were offered at a standard rate of 99 cents. Software restrictions on music files have been around since the advent of the digital music era, as some music publishers sought technological means to keep their products from being easily circulated by pirates on the web. Some iTunes rivals, such as Amazon.com, have in recent years begun offering songs that are free from such "digital rights management" controls. Record label EMI agreed to let Apple sell its music free from anti-copying restrictions in 2007, but other major labels had been slower to allow their music to be sold DRM-free. Phil Leigh, senior analyst at the Tampa-based market research firm Inside Digital Media, said that the move represents an industry shift toward song file formats that can be easily copied or played on any digital music device. "It looks like the music industry is saying that DRM-free tracks are the way to go, that’s the industry standard from this point forward," he said…

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