Apple StoreApple today announced that EMI Music’s entire digital catalog of music will be available for purchase DRM-free (without digital rights management) from the iTunes Store worldwide in May. DRM-free tracks from EMI will be offered at higher quality 256 kbps AAC encoding, resulting in audio quality indistinguishable from the original recording, for just $1.29 per song. In addition, iTunes customers will be able to easily upgrade their entire library of all previously purchased EMI content to the higher quality DRM-free versions for just 30 cents a song.

BBC News reports, “EMI boss Eric Nicoli said the move did not diminish EMI’s fight against piracy. DRM has been hailed by some in the industry as the most effective way to stop illicit copying. ‘We have to trust our consumers,’ he said. ‘We have always argued that the best way to combat illegal traffic is to make legal content available at decent value and convenient.'”

The Beeb reports, “Apple boss Steve Jobs shared the platform with Mr Nicoli and said: ‘This is the next big step forward in the digital music revolution – the movement to completely interoperable DRM-free music.’ He added: ‘The right thing to do is to tear down walls that precluded interoperability by going DRM-free and that starts here today.'”

“Analyst Mark Mulligan, with Jupiter Research, said the announcement ‘changes not just the rules of the game, but the game itself.’ He said he expected the other record labels and online retailers to follow suit in due course. ‘Other retail partners have to come to the party because they can’t be seen to be offering an inferior product,'” The Beeb reports.

“Other record companies would soon follow EMI’s lead, predicted Mr Jobs,” The Beeb reports. “He said the more than half of all the tracks available in the iTunes store would be available DRM-free by the end of the year.”

Full article here.

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