It’s been announced a while ago but as of today I started using iTunes Plus. iTunes Plus offers music and videos in better sound quality and without DRM at a slightly increased price (1,29 € per song in Germany, 1,99 € per video, albums prices remain).
This is possible because music publisher EMI agreed to offer his music catalog for DRM-free use. If this is good business other big companies might agree to stop the customer-nightmare DRM and to offer their music and films for free use. In my opinion this would then be a real alternative to filesharing which is illegal but also the only source for high quality, unprotected digital music.
Once you can get the same freedom-of-use legally -by paying money- this should be a real reason to use these services for the average customer who of course has no interest in committing a crime for something he can simply buy. iTunes is the convenient solution if you own an iPod and therefor brings this offer to exactly the right people.
Some might argue that certain MP3-Players might not play Apple’s format m4a but nevertheless it’s possible now to convert to mp3 or other formats.
Apart from buying new music in the new format you can also upgrade you previously bought music by paying just the difference. You then get the your songs in better quality and with freedom of use.
It may be just me but I consider this a huge step towards free choices for customers and I encourage everybody to purchase lots of ‚free-er‘ music so that this becomes an example. It’s still cheaper then buying cds. But don’t forget the backup!