It’s official: EMI drops DRM…sort of.
EMI Music has announced that it is dropping DRM on “premium downloads”.
The new higher quality DRM-free music will be offered on top of EMI’s existing range of DRM-protected downloads, and will come in a variety of bit rates up to CD quality.
EMI is releasing the DRM free premium downloads “in response to consumer demand for high fidelity digital music for use on home music systems, mobile phones and digital music players…that will enable full interoperability of digital music across all devices and platforms”.
Eric Nicoli, CEO of EMI Group, said, “Our goal is to give consumers the best possible digital music experience. By providing DRM-free downloads, we aim to address the lack of interoperability which is frustrating for many music fans. We believe that offering consumers the opportunity to buy higher quality tracks and listen to them on the device or platform of their choice will boost sales of digital music.
“Apple have been a true pioneer in digital music, and we are delighted that they share our vision of an interoperable market that provides consumers with greater choice, quality, convenience and value for money.”
“Selling digital music DRM-free is the right step forward for the music industry,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “EMI has been a great partner for iTunes and is once again leading the industry as the first major music company to offer its entire digital catalogue DRM-free.”
Apple’s iTunes will be the first online music store to receive EMI’s new premium downloads. Apple has announced that iTunes will make individual AAC format tracks available from EMI artists at twice the sound quality of existing downloads, with their DRM removed, at a price of $1.29/â‚¬1.29/Â£0.99. iTunes will continue to offer consumers the ability to pay $0.99/â‚¬0.99/Â£0.79 for standard sound quality tracks with DRM still applied. Complete albums from EMI Music artists purchased on the iTunes Store will automatically be sold at the higher sound quality and DRM-free, with no change in the price. Consumers who have already purchased standard tracks or albums with DRM will be able to upgrade their digital music for $0.30/â‚¬0.30/Â£0.20 per track. All EMI music videos will also be available on the iTunes Store DRM-free with no change in price.