"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Monday, April 02, 2007

EMI Goes DRM Free on iTunes

EMI and Apple announced a deal to sell its music catalog via iTunes DRM free (with higher quality) but for a 30% bump in cost. If you don't care about copy protection the price per song remains at $.99 but if you want to be able to play on other players then the price is $1.29. However, complete album purchases will be the same $10 and will be DRM free. One caveat is some players may not be able to play the ACC formated music.

To bad Apple and EMI didn't choose to also release the DRM free music in the universally excepted MP3 format. The EMI Group includes songs from the Rolling Stones, Norah Jones, Coldplay and many more. Overall, this is a set in the right direction to give consumers control over their own purchases but as Engadget discusses, isn't the begin all and end all.

One thing they have noted is its EMI, not Apple that is leading by example. After all the CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, is the largest stockholder in Disney. He has the heft the encourage Walt Disney music labels to go DRM free, but so far they are not. Another point they had, and a valid one, is the EMI is stilling selling DRMed music. They are not out of the control business. They just are providing an alternative at a 30% increase. TV/Movies will remain DRMed for the foreseeable future and I don't see RIAA letting up on its war. As pointed out before, even though the music is DRM free, it doesn't mean that suddenly that music can be played on any player you have. Most of the iPod competitors including iRiver, Creative and SanDisk, do not support ACC. To be truly wide open and free, the music should be 256kbs and in the MP3 format.

Still despite these problems, its still a small step in the right direction that if proven to be positive in the only value that matters, money, could cause the other music companies to lessen the stranglehold just a little bit.

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