iTunes “album only” tracks are now DRM-protected
This isn't good. :(
I recently noticed, while re-downloading some of my past purchases on iTunes, that a few tracks showed up as DRM-protected .m4p files, which was odd since iTunes had dropped DRM for music back in 2009. Plus I remembered that when I originally downloaded the files sometime last year, they indeed were all DRM-free .m4a files.
After buying some new albums a couple days ago and again ending up with an .m4p, I investigated a bit and found that these DRM-protected files all had one thing in common: they were marked as "album only" tracks in the iTunes store, which means that you can’t buy them separately without buying the whole album. All other tracks are unaffected and still DRM-free, however.
This change seems to have occurred fairly recently, and without any news coverage or announcement from Apple. All reports that I could find in forums (Algoriddim, Logitech, Apple, Serato) and on Twitter are from the last few weeks.