So, EMI has chosen to free its entire catalog of DRM. Is this the beginning of the end for DRM? I think it is.
Here's a link to the press release that says it all. Here are some of the highlights:
- EMI makes its digital catalog available at a much higher sound quality than existing downloads and free of DRM.
- The new higher quality DRM-free music will complement EMI's existing range of standard DRM-protected downloads already available.
- Quote from Eric Nicoli, CEO of EMI Group: "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's iTunes Store is the first online music store to make available 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.
- EMI expects that consumers will be able to purchase higher quality DRM-free downloads from a variety of digital music stores within the coming weeks.
- 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.
This has to be the beginning of the end for DRMed content. Other labels will no doubt have to follow suit and make similar offerings to remain competitive.
I'll have more comment on the potential implications of this later.