Thursday, January 29, 2009, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)
Apple now offering individual song upgrades on iTunes StoreApple on Thursday began offering iTunes shoppers the ability to upgrade their songs to higher-quality DRM-free tracks on an individual basis, doing away with an earlier mandate that required customers to upgrade their entire libraries all at once.
If signed into your iTunes Store account, a look at the home page of the Store will find an "Upgrade to iTunes Plus" link in the right-hand sidebar. Clicking the link will bring up a page where there was previously only one large "BUY ALL" button.
Today, the button is still there, but you also have the additional option of upgrading individual tracks and albums.
According to the iTunes Plus frequently asked questions, upgrading will replace the protected 128 kbps file with the highest-quality 256 kbps AAC encoding Apple offers. Upgraded music videos also have improved audio, while the video quality remains unchanged.
Apple began altering its iTunes Terms of Service on Wednesday to reflect the change, but AppleInsider was unable to successfully access the new capability at that time.
When the upgrade option was first announced earlier this month, any early positive reaction was quickly dashed once users discovered they could only upgrade on an all-or-nothing basis. Many people elected not to upgrade because they didn't want to pay again for music they no longer listen to or regret purchasing.
Apple began altering its iTunes TOS for UK users on Wednesday, ahead of the official changes.
Now that Apple has delivered more customer-friendly choices, the process isn't without certain details some may not be happy with. If you purchased a given album from the iTunes Store, it's not possible to upgrade a single track or two off of it without upgrading the entire album. The system treats each purchased album as one singular item.
Finally, the special link in the right-hand sidebar is the only place where you can upgrade. If you navigate to an album you've already bought, the full price is displayed for it and for each individual song. These normal pages within the store are not aware of your purchasing history and thus do not mention any information about upgrading as a result.
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