EMI, Apple unveil iTunes Pass

Depeche Mode fans can now to purchase a brand-new iTunes Pass for $18.99 that gives them access to a new album as well as extra content.

iTunes Pass is now available on the iTunes Store for Depeche Mode fans. Tom Krazit/CNET Networks

EMI unveiled a new feature on iTunes Tuesday called iTunes Pass, which allows Depeche Mode fans access to the band's upcoming album and other selected goodies.

Apple chose to let EMI make the announcement for iTunes Pass, a new service that will gradually release tracks until the middle of June from the album Sounds of the Universe along with exclusive remixes and videos for $18.99. This is a separate offering from the album itself, which is scheduled to be released on April 21 and can be preordered for $9.99.

At the moment, it appears EMI and Depeche Mode are the only ones trying out iTunes Pass. This appears to be an outgrowth of Apple's decision to allow variable pricing in the iTunes Store for the first time, allowing record companies and bands to offer the digital version of a special-edition CD with extra videos and songs than the regular CD for a premium price.

The Depeche Mode tracks will be DRM-free--Apple's other major change to the iTunes Store this year--and the $18.99 pass won't cost you any more than it would have to buy all the contents of the pass separately, Apple said, although it seems there will be tracks or videos available to pass holders that won't be offered to the general public.

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