iTunes Plus upgrades go à la carte

If you’ve been skipping the daily double-wet-cappuccino in order to save enough money to upgrade your iTunes library to the DRM-free iTunes Plus format, you can put coffee back on the menu. Apple has dispensed with the iTunes Store all-or-nothing upgrade policy.

Until today, anyone who wished to upgrade his or her music from iTunes’ protected format to iTunes Plus was required to upgrade every track in his or her library. That’s no longer the case. Travel to the iTunes Plus upgrade page (which you can do by clicking on the Upgrade To iTunes Plus link on the Store’s Home page) and you’ll discover that not only can you click on a large Buy All button to upgrade your entire protected collection, but you can now click Buy buttons next to the protected albums or tracks in your library. When you first do so, you’ll be prompted to agree to a new license agreement. Once you do that, you’re free to upgrade songs, albums, or music videos individually.

Prices haven’t changed. It still costs 30-cents to upgrade a track, approximately one-third of an album’s current purchase price to upgrade the album ($9.99 albums can be upgraded for $3), and it costs 60 cents to upgrade a music video.

Important note: If you use iTunes’ Shopping Cart for purchasing media and add an album to that Shopping Cart, it will be listed at full price rather than the upgrade price. Click the Shopping Cart’s Buy Now button and you will pay full price for the album ($9.99 versus $3, for example). For this reason, until Apple irons out this glitch, be sure to set iTunes’ Store preference to Buy and Download Using 1-Click.

At Macworld Expo in January, Apple announced that the iTunes Store's entire catalog would finally be available as 256-kpbs AAC files free of any digital rights management restrictions. The transition is expected to be complete by the end of March 2009.

iTunes Plus tracks, albums, and music videos can now be upgraded individually.

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