Apple/EMI selling DRM-free music

Congratulations to Apple and EMI for offering DRM-free music on iTunes. This will mean, for the first time, consumers can legally download music which does not tie them into a specific vendor or piece of hardware, or tell them what they can and can’t do with the music which they purchased.

The "premium" versions of EMI tracks will lack the digital locks common to songs available via many online sites.

The move is significant because most download sites currently try to limit piracy by restricting what people can do with music they buy.

The New Prices

  • 79p single – with digital locks and at 128kbps quality
  • 99p single – no digital locks and 256kbps quality
  • Album prices unchanged with no locks and all at 256kbps
It is slightly unfortunate that there is a price rise for the DRM-free versions so many uneducated consumers will still be going for the version with DRM, which has bigger costs in the long run. Consumers can "upgrade" their music to the new higher quality DRM-free version for 20p a track which is also nice.

Steve Jobs said that by the end of the year, about half of the music available on iTunes will be DRM-free. I do not believe that consumers should have to pay extra for something as basic as interoperability so I’m a little disappointed that there is a higher price for the DRM-free versions.

I expect that this is simply a way for Apple to increase the price of music through the backdoor (seeing as 79p decreases in value every day due to inflation) and that sooner or later, the "premium" format will become standard.

But anyway, I think this will just be the start for legal DRM-free music downloads. Congratulations to Apple and EMI and I hope that other vendors will follow the example and release the locks from their music.

One thought on “Apple/EMI selling DRM-free music

  1. If the European Commision succeeds at court with their anti-trust case against the iTS, music downloads in GB will become probably even cheaper. Now they are 0.99 EUR (68p) the rest of the EU for the DRMed versions.

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