Move puts co. in line with rival offerings

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Apple is lowering the prices of songs it sells online without copy protection to 99¢ from $1.29, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The reduction, which started appearing on songs Tuesday, puts Apple closer in line with rival offerings. Amazon.com, which opened its online music store in September, sells tracks without anti-copying software locks for 89¢ to 99¢.

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said the price cut was not in response to competition.

“It’s been very popular with our customers and we’re now making it available at an even more affordable price,” Kerris said.

Apple dominates the music download market and became the third-largest overall music retailer in the United States in units sold earlier this year.

It began selling some songs in May without copy-protection software, known as digital rights management. The primary benefit of DRM-free music is that it can be played on any music player, not just Apple iPods.

Apple also charges 99¢ for copy-protected tracks.

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