Apr 2 2007
Apple today announced that EMI Music’s entire digital catalog of music will be available for purchase DRM-free (that is, without digital rights management) from the iTunes Stores worldwide in May. DRM-free tracks from EMI will be offered at higher quality 256 kbps AAC encoding, resulting in audio quality indistinguishable from the original recording, for just USD$1.29 per song. In addition, iTunes customers will be able to easily upgrade their entire library of all previously purchased EMI content to the higher quality DRM-free versions for just 30 cents a song. iTunes will continue to offer its entire catalog, currently over five million songs, in the same versions as today — 128 kbps AAC encoding with DRM — at the same price of 99 cents per song, alongside DRM-free higher quality versions when available.
Does anyone else feel like this might be a test run? Is Jobs trying to show the record companies that consumers will pay a bit more for more bits if they aren’t restricted in how they choose to own and use that content? I’ll be interested to see the other labels follow suit.