EMI may sell entire music catalog DRM-free

“Music company EMI Group PLC – home of The Rolling Stones and Coldplay [and the world’s largest independent music company] – has been talking with online retailers about possibly selling its entire digital music catalog in MP3 format without copy protection, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing numerous people familiar with the matter,” The Associated Press reports.

AP reports, “The MP3 format, which can be freely copied and played on virtually any device, would allow consumers to play music purchased from any online store on any digital music device.”

MacDailyNews Take: Translating for the AP, a routine job around here, replace “MP3” with “AAC” or any other unprotected file format. Obviously, we would hope that Apple wouldn’t be forced to go backwards to MP3, when AAC is the superior format. More about AAC Audio here.

AP continues, “According to the people familiar with the matter, London-based EMI asked the retailers to submit proposals by Thursday telling the company what size advance payments they would offer in exchange for the right to sell EMI’s music as MP3s, the Journal reported. One of the unidentified people said EMI would decide whether to forge ahead with the strategy based on the size of the offers. A decision about whether to keep pursuing the idea could come as soon as Friday.”

“Earlier this week, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs called on record labels to abandon their requirement for online music to use DRM, which is designed to limit unauthorized copying. Jobs said such restrictions have done little to slow music piracy and eliminating them would open up the online music marketplace,” AP reports.

Full article here.
Jobs should submit a proposal that ensures EMI will crack open the floodgates on DRM-free music.

Related articles:
Norway responds to Apple CEO Jobs’ call for DRM-free music – February 09, 2007
Recording Industry Association of America wants their DRM, calls for Apple to license FairPlay – February 08, 2007
Warner’s Middlebronfman: Jobs’ DRM-free music call ‘without logic and merit, we’ll not abandon DRM’ – February 08, 2007
Dvorak: Apple CEO Steve Jobs is dead right about DRM – February 07, 2007
Apple’s Jobs jolts music industry; Zune exec calls Jobs’ call for DRM-free music ‘irresponsible’ – February 07, 2007
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ posts rare open letter: ‘Thoughts on Music’ – calls for DRM-free music – February 06, 2007
Apple Inc. and The Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd. enter into new agreement – February 05, 2007
Norwegian Ombudsman: Apple’s FairPlay DRM is illegal in Norway – January 24, 2007
Major music labels ponder DRM-free future – January 23, 2007
Clash, Pink Floyd manager: ‘DRM is dead’ – November 06, 2006
Study reports the obvious: most music on iPods not from iTunes Store – September 17, 2006


  1. MDN, don’t make that assumption that EMI won’t care what format the music is in. mp3 is an inferior format to AAC, Apple Lossless, AIFF, and so on, and that may be exactly what they want. They may be saying “you can buy a high-quality CD from us, or a low-quality digital download” in an effort to keep people buying CDs instead of downloading the songs (since they have a firm control of CD sales, but not of digital music).

    Of course, it would be great if they didn’t care about the format…but I’m betting they do.

  2. It’s not about the online music stores, it’s about the players. yes there is potential for online sales, but selling the player is a lot more profitable. Apple makes it’s money from the iPod, not iTunes so much. That being the case, the source of the music download doesn’t matter so much, which is why the iPod plays any mp3 (that isn’t DRM’d by someone), not just songs and video from iTunes Store.

    iTune/Apple TV has however given Apple an entrance into people’s living rooms and that’s it’s importance now. Movies, TV, streaming audio in your house – that is the future of iTunes.

    Apple TV in your house, iPod in your car and on the go.

    Simple, and that’s why Apple TV is the hot seller on Apple’s website. Watch out for it, it’s going to sneak up on people just like iPod did.

  3. “Of course, it would be great if they didn’t care about the format…but I’m betting they do.”

    But if I’m free to transcode it then Apple is, too. You can’t just decree what format you ‘open’ files are going to be available in.

  4. Sheesh – Why didn’t the MPEG just call the codec MP4 instead of AAC, then people would understand that AAC is the next generation. For some reason, the world at large has equated AAC and FairPlay, as though AAC is propreitary Apple codec (or PlayStation3).

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