I understand the desire to own better-sounding Apple iTunes files, but let's face it - people want DRM-free iTunes for one reason and one reason alone. They want to listen to iTunes music on as many different iPods as possible, and they want to share their favourite iTunes tracks with their mates.

But Apple and EMI can't say this, as it would open up a whole can of worms with recording artists and the music industry as a whole. So use of DRM-free iTunes Plus files remains technically restricted. It's just not restricted by technology.

The solution? Flog Apple iTunes of EMI artists without DRM, but at a higher price because of the better sound quality (albeit a better sound quality that PC Advisor's expert reviewer could barely discern). But remember, the extra charge is for the sound quality, dummy.

I mean, why doesn't Apple sell all iTunes, with DRM, at the higher encoding rate? It wouldn't then be restricted to EMI artists, but no-one in their right mind would pay extra for the 'better sound quality' alone.

The fact is that true audiophiles wouldn't dream of buying iTunes, any more than they'd give up their precious chrome tape when CD technology came along. And people get DRM-free digital music every day when they rip CDs.

No-one's being ripped off here, and Apple and EMI are to be applauded for at least taking the plunge. But I wish we could all be a bit more mature about it and accept that DRM-free iTunes are here because people want to share music with impunity (and already do). Not because of some spurious improvement in sound quality. For that Apple would need to produce useable headphones.


DRM-free iTunes Plus: the awful truth

Apple's iTunes Plus available for free download