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Apple drops price of DRM-free iTunes

Change follows Amazon.com launch of digital-music site offering DRM-free MP3s for 89 cents or 99 cents each.

This report was updated midday to reflect that Apple has confirmed the DRM-free iTunes price drop.

Apple has dropped the price of its iTunes Plus songs that have no digital rights management (DRM) software protection and allow owners to move song files freely from one device to another.

The 256kbps DRM-free song files were originally priced at $1.29 per song with a lower per-song average price for buying an entire album. iTunes now seems to be offering the same files for 99 cents per song, the same price it charges for its usual 128kbps DRM versions.

"iTunes Plus has been incredibly popular with our customers, and now we're making it available at an even more affordable price," Tom Neumayr, senior manager for iPods, Apple TV and iTunes, said in a statement. "We're adding over 2 million tracks from key independent labels, in addition to EMI's digital catalog, and look forward to even more labels and artists making their music available on iTunes Plus."

The change closely follows Amazon.com's launch of its own digital-music store.

As of September 25, Amazon.com began offering 256kbps DRM-free MP3s for between 89 cents and 99 cents each, depending on the song.

While Apple has made no formal comment as to why it's decided to reduce its DRM-free iTunes prices, Amazon's new music store could be the reason.