Yesterday EMI announced that it would sell songs through iTunes without digital rights management protection on the files. What’s the big deal? Well, that means that anyone who buys an EMI recording on iTunes will no longer have to find ways to break the DRM (digital rights management) on the file in order to play it on something other than an iPod. No more feeling like the only choice one has is to break the law in order to get to listen to music on the device of choice. No longer will someone with songs purchased from iTunes be locked into using an iPod for music listening. No longer do the music companies have a say in what the public gets to do with music they spend money on.
The music will be sold for $1.29 instead of the .99 that is the typical cost at iTunes. Music files without DRM will also be of a higher quality than what is already available at iTunes. There has been some debate about whether or not downloaders would be willing to spend more for DRM free music, particularly if it’s better quality sound. This is sure to be the test.
This is a pretty big step and Steve Jobs said at the EMI announcement that he suspects more and more music will be sold without DRM leading to 50% of the music being DRM free by the end of the year.
As someone who believes that intellectual property and copyright are important, but has struggled in the recent past to stay legal, this is a move that sounds just right. A few more cents to not break the law – sounds great!