After Steve Jobs made his DRM-free speech back in February I have to admit that I was skeptical about whether or not he truly intended to offer DRM-free music on iTunes. However, he showed he intends to help bring willing buyers DRM-free music with yesterday's Apple and EMI Music announcement that a non-DRM option would be available on iTunes in May.
I have been enjoying the many options of a Yahoo! Music unlimited subscription that allows me to listen to a ton of songs from genres that I have some interest in, yet am not really interested in purchasing. My wife and daughters are always buying music from the iTunes store though and the only way we can really share them is to first burn them to a CD and then rip them into MP3 files with a loss of quality and a great deal of time for the process. I think this news may actually result in more sales of iTunes music because people will not feel like they have restrictions on the music that they purchased. There will always be a small number of people who risk viruses, spyware, and morals trying to be cheap and pirate music, but I really think that number is quite small and won't change whether music is DRM or non-DRM. Just the fact that your music is no longer restricted will probably make people feel more comfortable purchasing it while giving them unlimited options for listening to the music. If I find songs I really like and that I plan to listen to regularly, then I'll probably purchase the DRM-free version via iTunes. I like the iTunes interface and am always getting iTunes gift certificates from family and friends so I applaud this move by Apple and EMI Music. It will be interesting to see if any other major label follow through and after they see EMI's collection taking off on iTunes they may finally see the benefits of non-DRM music.
You can also check out more ZDNet blogger DRM thoughts on this subject.