You gotta hand it to Apple. They really do know how to separate money from people’s wallets. Check this bit of chicanery around their new DRM-free music upgrade plan:

Anyone who wants to upgrade their entire existing iTunes Library to DRM-free versions of the same songs, can conveniently do so with one click. But it is going to cost you 30 cents a track to do so. That’s right, you have to pay again for songs you already bought. Let’s see, 6 billion songs X 30 cents = $1.8 billion in potential upgrade fees. That’s a music tax, plain and simple. No wonder the music companies finally relented.

And by the way, if you do want to upgrade your collection of lackluster Protected AAC tracks to DRM-free AAC, you have to do the whole collection. You can’t pick and choose.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Amassing a collection of iTunes-bought Protected AAC tracks is like failing an intelligence test. This guy from CNN would have to pay almost $60 to “upgrade” the music he already paid for. What a chump.