The Beginning of the End of DRM

Apple and EMI have jointly announced new “premium” DRM-free tracks at iTunes: Mac Rumors: Apple/EMI Press Conference Coverage [Event Over]

Anyone who worked with software in the late 80s and early 90s would remember how common and annoying copy protection was in those days. The people paying the bills hated it, and it went away. It’s much the same with music today. People are trying to move their music around as they please and the DRM gets in the way of reasonable, lawful use.

And hats off to the clever marketers at Apple. These new “premium” tracks are encoded at twice the bitrate. So, you’re not just paying an extra $0.30 per song for restoration of your fair use. You’re paying for higher-quality encodings. And, the record labels get the price bump they’ve been wanting.

I’m curious what the full album price will be ($12.99?) If it’s too close to CDs, it would seem like a lot of people would just buy the CD which they can have DRM-free with lossless encoding and get the physical artifact to boot.

3 thoughts on “The Beginning of the End of DRM”

  1. From EMI’s press release: “Complete albums from EMI Music artists purchased on the iTunes Store will automatically be sold at the higher sound quality and DRM-free, with no change in the price.”

  2. Never underestimate the power of convenience. A download from iTunes includes the album art and that could be good enough for a lot of people.

  3. Jay: Thanks! that’s good to know. One more incentive that they’re adding to buy a complete album.

    Ian: That’s certainly why iTMS has become as popular as it is. But, as people have more and more of their music in digital formats, they’ll want to move it around and do whatever they wish with it. iTMS is leading the way (though you can bet that eMusic is likely to pick up on EMI’s move as well.)

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