Apr 07

EMI and iTunes news update

FT7 comments • 655 views

They’re going to start offering higher quality (256 kbps AAC) downloads DRM-free. Yes you heard.

Single tracks 99p, albums STAY THE SAME. So you get high-quality DRM free albums for the same cost as today’s lower quality albums.

All very clever and well done them. I’m dying to see how this turns out – as of course are EMI. This could break them, or it could revive them from their much discussed decline of late. I’ve always steered clear of iTunes downloads because of the quality issue – srsly. Now you can get the same quality as when you RIP the CD you bought off Amazon or (god forbid) FOPP on the high-street, and at quite an impressive price. And no premium if you want to upgrade – you pay the price difference, 20p per track, to get the better DRM-free version.


My only quibble is I had to sit through two The Good, The Bad and The Queen tracks before the announcement.


  1. 1
    Tom on 2 Apr 2007 #

    Given how rapidly it’s come after Jobs initial anti-DRM statements, this must have been in the pipeline for a while. Good work tho. Who is on EMI anyway?

  2. 2
    Admin on 2 Apr 2007 #

    lovely wikipedia lists

  3. 3
    Steve Mannion on 2 Apr 2007 #

    Very pleased about this. Hopefully it will include the old XL rave stuff that’s made it on iTunes in the last few months.

    I thought Jobs had been talking about how DRM WAS needed recently tho?

  4. 4
    Admin on 2 Apr 2007 #

    His open letter (which he made good ref to in the announcement) was making the point that DRM was something that the rec labels require(d!) of apple, and that he would welcome DRM-free stuff. Apple has to make guarantees to the labels (and still does for the 79p tracks) that when the DRM is cracked that they patch the software within agreed SLA-style specs. Which they do with upgrades to iTunes and iPod software.

    The people who read the letter as ingenuous wriggling cannot continue believing it was so.

  5. 5
    Steve Mannion on 2 Apr 2007 #

    jolly goods. so many times over the last few years i have stared at tracks on iTunes wanting to buy but deciding not to cos i wanted higher quality and no DRM. hopefully this time next year these issues will be wiped out completely.

  6. 6
    Admin on 2 Apr 2007 #

    We’re speculating that the official digital download tracks will be effectively watermarked as such, not to trace sources (though that might work at the vendor level ‘this is the iTunes download’ if not the consumer level), but just so that in the coming take downs of pirates they can trace if the pirated tracks are coming from legal downloads or RIPped from CDs.

  7. 7
    tracerhand on 3 Apr 2007 #

    Yes apparently these albums will, like the A-Z, have one tiny mistake in each song so that police can identify stolen copies.

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