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iTunes and DRM-free music explained

What you need to know about DRM-free iTunes

How much will the files cost?

They'll cost 99p per song – 20p more than iTunes' current price of 79p for DRM-protected songs. But full albums will cost the same as the current iTunes price (usually £10).

What's the difference in quality between the files?

iTunes songs are sold as 128kbps (kilobits per second) music in .AAC format. The DRM-free music will be 256kbps, which means less compression and higher audio quality.

Can real people tell the difference?

Yes. But don't take our word for it. In a poll on PC Advisor's US sister site PCWorld.com, 34 percent of respondents said they could hear "a real difference".

Will I be able to buy digital versions of Beatles songs?

No just yet, but former Beatle Paul McCartney has confirmed music from the classic UK act will soon be made available online.

McCartney said this week that a deal to make music from The Beatles available online through services such as iTunes is, "virtually settled".

Will the EMI songs play only on iPods?

No. You can listen to them on any player that can handle .AAC music files. Microsoft's Zune device and Archos players, for instance, can play .AAC, but others, including those from Creative, SanDisk, Sony and Samsung, can't.

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