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DRM... The slow death?
Written by Daniel   
Monday, 02 April 2007 08:37

EMI goes DRM-free on iTunes Store
ARS Technica
By Eric Bangeman | Published: April 02, 2007 - 07:50AM CT

Testing DRM-free waters: EMI selling a few MP3s through Yahoo Music

Apple and EMI announced today that the music label will begin selling all of its music through the iTunes Store, DRM-free. During a press conference in London this morning, EMI said that all of its unprotected tracks will be available from the iTunes Store for $1.29 and that customers will be able to upgrade their already-purchased EMI tracks for 30¢ if they so choose.

EMI and Apple said that the bit rate of EMI's tracks will be bumped up as well. EMI's catalog will now be available as 256kbps AAC files, upgraded from 128kbps. "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," said EMI CEO Eric Nicoli during this morning's press conference. Customers who are not interested in the higher-quality, unprotected AAC files will still be able to buy protected tracks at 128kbps for 99¢ apiece.

EMI said that the iTunes Store will be the first to carry its higher-quality, unprotected music. The company will also be selling unprotected music videos through iTunes with no change in price, and plans to continue selling full upgraded albums at the existing wholesale prices.

It appears as if EMI and Apple are using the excuse of upgraded sound quality for the reason behind the individual track price bump, and not the lack of DRM. Whatever the true reason for the price bump, this ultimately breaks the (up until today) very consistent pricing scheme of the iTunes Store, and opens up the doors for other artists to start pricing their tracks differently—DRMed or not. One side effect: other music labels may now feel pressure to join EMI in dropping DRM through iTunes. There is no doubt that the rest of the Big Four will be watching this move very closely.... Much More

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