More DRM-free songs to be available on Apple iTunes tonight?

Plus a new download price structure is on the cards

Apple's new 5th Generation iPod
The amount of songs without copy protection software available on iTunes is set to drastically increase under the terms of a new deal between Apple and three major record labels.

The download service already offers DRM-free MP3s from the EMI record label, but under a new deal songs by artists on Sony BMG, Universal and Warner Music are set to be made available DRM-free.

According to sources, the catalogues could be available as early as tonight (January 6), with claims the move will be announced at the Macworld Conference And Expo in San Francisco today (January 6).

As part of the deal a three-tier pricing structure for downloads will be introduced, reports Cnet.

There will be different prices for old songs, new songs and 'big hit' new songs under the terms of the deal. In the US new 'big hit' songs may be priced between 79 and 99 cents.

Chiefs at iTunes have said they will begin removing DRM software from relevant songs already available in their catalogue.

It also claimed that the deal includes moves that will pave the way for "over-the-air" downloads, allowing iPhone users to by music directly with their handset.

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