Some core changes for Apple's iTunes

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Apple is cutting the price of some songs in its market-leading iTunes online store to 69 cents and plans to make every track available without copy protection.

Apple has offered DRM-free music from EMI since May 2007, but marketing executive Philip Schiller said Tuesday at the Macworld expo in San Francisco that all four majors now on board after Apple gave them flexibility on pricing.

Song prices will come in three tiers: 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29. Record companies will choose the prices, which marks a significant change because Apple previously made all songs sell for 99 cents.

Although iTunes is the most popular digital music store, others have been faster to offer more songs without copy protection. Amazon began selling DRM-free music downloads in 2007 and swayed all of the major labels to sign on in less than a year.

Schiller also said that iPhone 3G users will be able to buy songs from the iTunes store using the cellular data network. Previously, iPhone users could shop for tunes when connected to a WiFi hot spot.

The iTunes changes marked the highlights of Schiller's run as a stand-in for CEO Steve Jobs, who used to make Macworld the site for some of Apple's biggest product unveilings, including the iPhone. Apple said last month that Jobs would not address the throngs this time because the company plans to pull out of Macworld next year.

Schiller got a warm welcome from the attendees and ran seamlessly through his 90-minute presentation, getting applause and oohs from the audience.

"Phil did an exceptionally good job in representing Apple," said Tim Bajarin, president of technology analyst group Creative Strategies.

Apple shares slipped $1.56, or 1.7%, to $93.40 in Tuesday's trading.

Chris M. Walsh is news editor at Billboard.biz. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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