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Thoughts about the EMI DRM removal

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We pretty much know at this point that at 8AM ET this morning EMI plans to remove DRM from a large portion of its catalog. I see this as a shining example of how influental Steve Jobs can be. Less than two months ago, Jobs urged record labels to remove DRM, citing many reasons why this should be done. We now see that the record labels have listened to Jobs, when they have not listened to _ANYONE_ else on the matter. While EMI is just 1/4 of all of the major 4 record labels, I think that this will have a cascading effect on all of the other labels. Consumers will start to realize what DRM is, and will demand that other companies follow suit. Apple and EMI will release sales records pre-drm and post-drm for EMI music, and we will see a large spike. This will mark the beginning of the end for DRM. As soon as consumers become aware of DRM and the record companies see what a positive impact removing DRM had for EMI, they too will follow suit. This will carry over to video, and to other downloading services. This is a perfect example of how Jobs can assert his influence to change an entire industry. He has already done it once, with the iTunes music store. We get to see another major transformation start towmarrow. It is now that is the beginning of the end for DRM.

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Wow, this finally one sane step taken by the Music Industry in a long time.

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EMI takes locks off music tracks

-EMI is taking software locks off some of its digital music songs sold via download sites.-


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.


Apple's iTunes store will start selling the EMI tracks in the "premium" format in May.


Track changes

EMI said every song in its catalogue will be available in the "premium" format. It said the tracks without locks will cost more and be of higher quality than those it offers now.


Popular EMI artists include Lily Allen, Joss Stone, Robbie Williams, Coldplay and Corinne Bailey Rae.


The higher price will apply only to single tracks that customers download. On iTunes EMI tracks free of digital rights management (DRM) software will cost $1.29 (99p).


Itunes users will be able to upgrade previously purchased EMI songs and albums for 30 cents (15p) a track. Fans will be able to buy "premium" tracks that are twice the sound quality of currently available EMI tracks.


"Consumers tell us they would be prepared to pay a higher price for a piece of music they can play on any player," said EMI boss Eric Nicoli.


By contrast albums free of DRM and those with it will be the same price.


EMI unveiled the "premium" content at a hastily arranged press conference held in London.


Apple boss Steve Jobs shared the platform with Mr Nicoli and said: "This is the next big step forward in the digital music revolution - the movement to completely interoperable DRM-free music."


He added: "The right thing to do is to tear down walls that precluded interoperability by going DRM-free and that starts here today."


Other record companies would soon follow EMI's lead, predicted Mr Jobs.BBC News Online

So you want DRM free tracks? Expect to pay more. But I guess you do get better quality tracks so probably is worth it.

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So you want DRM free tracks? Expect to pay more.

Only if you buy the single track; albums are the same price DRM or not.

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First of all, Steve Jobs had little to do with it. EMI has been thinking about doing this a lot longer than Steve Jobs has been thinking about it. In fact, some pundits have said that he probably wrote his letter knowing that EMI was close to doing this, and that it would look like he influenced it.


Second, if Steve Jobs were SO against DRM, he would strip the DRM from the NUMEROUS independent artists who have given permission to do so, and in fact have been making a public outcry for Apple to remove the DRM from their songs. But Steve would rather just write an open letter and "look" like he's doing something then actually do it.


Third, as far as the quality goes, almost all of the PlaysForSure sites have much better quality downloads than the iTunes store, including the new format.


Kudos to EMI, though. I'm glad one company is taking a step in the right direction. My hope is that their sales will skyrocket on the non-DRM tracks, and the DRM tracks will start to drop, so all the other companies will jump on, too.

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