iTunes and EMI to Offer Unrestricted Downloads
Mon, 02 Apr 2007 11:48:03
If you've ever tried to download music—legally, that is—chances are you've run across the term "DRM," which stands for "digital rights management." And chances are you've been frustrated by it, because the purpose of DRM is to place certain restrictions on how you can copy and play back your downloads. Songs purchased through the iTunes Store, for example, can't be played on mp3 devices other than the iPod. Until now, that is.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs and EMI Group CEO Eric Nicoli announced today that they have agreed to lift DRM protections on most of EMI's catalog. Beginning in May, iTunes users will be able to download DRM-free songs from EMI artists like Coldplay, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Lily Allen, and Norah Jones. The Beatles are the only major EMI artist not included in the program; currently, their catalog is not available through iTunes or any other online music service.
Besides being DRM-free, the new EMI downloads will also offer twice the playback quality of traditional iTunes downloads. They will be offered at a premium price of $1.29 (U.S.)/£0.99 (U.K.).
EMI, the world's fourth-largest record company, is the first to offer most of its catalog in a DRM-free format. The move is seen as a victory for Steve Jobs, who advocated lifting DRM restrictions in an open letter to record labels earlier this year.
"Selling digital music DRM-free is the right step forward for the music industry," Jobs said today. Others in the record industry weren't so sure, however. "EMI haven't tested it enough, so they don't know what the market reaction is going to be to open MP3s," one industry executive told Reuters. "How will it affect piracy? We just don't know."
—The ARTISTdirect Staff