When you purchase and download music from the Apple iTunes music store, the tracks are protected with a custom version of the AAC-based DRM (digital rights management), which will control where and how you playback your audio. For instance, these tracks can't be played back on a rival MP3 player, only an Apple iPod. That's absolutely fine if you're happy with your iTunes<>iPod combination (and, quite frankly, most of those users are happy), but if you want to have complete control over your music, you might prefer to purchase a CD, rip the tracks and put the music wherever you want.
Apple iTunes 7.2 is the latest version of the media player, which now supports the new 'iTunes Plus' music format, which enables you to purchase DRM-free music at a higher bitrate than the standard tracks. Currently only EMI music can be purchased DRM-free, but others will follow. Now you have three choices: DRM-controlled (cheaper) tracks, DRM-free downloads or simply buy the CD and rip the music yourself!
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