iTunes Drops DRM for EMI

iTunes Drops DRM for EMI

The Wall Street Journal breaks the news before the big EMI/Steve Jobs presentation. EMI will be selling much of it’s catalog through iTunes without DRM. No word yet on whether prior purchases can be converted or if iTunes will begin selling DRM-free music for those labels and artists who don't want it.

Update via MacDailyNews:

Apple’s iTunes Store is 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/€1.29/£0.99. iTunes will continue to offer consumers the ability to pay $0.99/€0.99/£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/€0.30/£0.20 per track. All EMI music videos will also be available on the iTunes Store DRM-free with no change in price.

Update 2: I like the fact that DRM-encoded music costs less than DRM-free music. It’s almost an admission from EMI that DRM makes their product less valuable. Of course, EMI will point to the fact that the music is encoded at a higher bit rate as the real justification for the price difference. BS.

Update 3: According to CNET, both major and independent labels will be given the same opportunity to ditch DRM.

(Via boycott-riaa.com news and Daring Fireball.)