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The After Mac

Apple and EMI Launch DRM Free Music

by Juan on April 3rd, 2007

Darn! This always happens to me. This entry is a day late because I was stuck at the hospital without anyway to read and blog about this significant news. Well better late than never.

It started with this and now Apple and EMI announce DRM free music. Nice. For $1.29, 30 cents more than the standard music tracks on iTunes you can download DRM free music that’s recorded at a higher 256kbps AAC bit rate. Apple says it’s indistinguishable from the original recording. DRM versions of the tracks will still be available for 99 cents.

True to Apple fashion, they make it easy for you to upgrade your music collection. Come May when the service is launched worldwide, Apple will provide an option to convert your entire collection (EMI songs as of now) to the DRM free versions.

What does this mean to us iTunes users and music lovers? It means better music courtesy of the higher quality. We don’t have to go through the tedious task of burning tracks to CDs and ripping them again just to get DRM free music. The ability to now use iTunes purchased tracks on a number of devices. But… it hurts the pockets a bit more. Multiply 30 cents with just a 100 tracks and you get 30 dollars. I don’t know about you but where I come from, 30 dollars is still a lot.

Apple promises that by the year’s end 2.5 million tracks in its catalog will be DRM free. If Apple is successful with this, it could really mean a significant paradigm shift on how online music business is done. Then again, after some time into this they might just realize it does work and revert to the old stuff. At the end of the day it’s all about dollars and cents. They show that this scheme makes money and is reasonable, they’ll keep it. Otherwise it’s back to the drawing board.

Apple’s press release is here.
EMI’s press release is here.

*Photo used above courtesy of EMI. 

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