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EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Press releases:

"EMI Music launches DRM-free superior sound quality downloads across its entire digital repertoire"

"Apple Unveils Higher Quality DRM-Free Music on the iTunes Store"

Initially this surprise announcement that came out April 1st was though to be an "April Fools" joke, but has since been confirmed by the media (including WSJ, News.com, Reuters and the AP).

256 kBit/s AAC, DRM-free music will be the "premium" product on iTunes (free on EMI albums or 30 cents more = $1.29 a track on single tracks). If you already purchased an EMI records album, the 256 kBit/s DRM-free AAC album will be a free upgrade.

If you bought EMI individual tracks from iTunes in the past, there is a 30 cent upgrade price to get the 256 kBit/s DRM-free track, or else use the new "Complete My Album" feature to get a discount on album upgrade pricing, based on previous tracks purchased. Apple will still offer existing tracks for $0.99 in 128 kBit/s AAC format with DRM - for other labels' songs and for EMI tracks as well - as a "standard" pricing option.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #1
Excellent development! I hope this applies to other mainstream download stores too and not just to iTMS
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EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #2
Excellent development! I hope this applies to other mainstream download stores too and not just to iTMS

According the the WSJ article, it appears it should eventually trickle down to other online music stores also, but will likely start with Apple iTunes first. We shall see, the announcement is a little over 3 hours away (as of the time of this post).


EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #4
Is it still april 1st anywhere?
Can't wait for a HD-AAC encoder :P

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #5
you saw the publication date of this story right? 4/1 - april fools day. I assume its a joke.

This is NOT A JOKE. It is real. You can verify by doing a Google News search for the words:  apple emi
Here is link to Google News search on this:  http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&q=ap...sa=N&tab=wn

All the majors are carrying the story:  Reuters, AP, WSJ, News.com, USAToday, Forbes, CNBC, etc.

There is even a web videocast link on the http://www.emigroup.com web site now. Starts at 8AM Eastern time.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #6
So, since they have stated that they will be offering their songs in the MP3 format, will iTS be selling 128kbps mp3 files then?

If that's the case, especially if they use Apple/iTunes's MP3 encoder, the results will be pure crap quality purchases.

I will still stick to buying the CD and ripping/encoding myself, until i get DRM-free lossless files that i can buy online at a cheaper price than what the physical CD with a casing and everything costs in the music store over here.
myspace.com/borgei - last.fm/user/borgei

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #7
As to whether or not the story's true, it started with the WSJ, who're unlikely to post crap.

As for bitrate, we'll see. 128kbps MP3s would be ridiculous. But then again, we are talking about the mainstream music industry here. These people would burn salad if asked to make it. I think I'd be more surprised if they came up with a solution that fit general consumer needs than if they didn't. After all, 128kbps MP3s would pretty much help keep CDs viable, and we all know how much the industry loves ancient business models.

Also, because it's Apple you can forget about the files being LAME encoded.

As for the needs of folks like us: FLAC downloads, pleeeease!... all I'll say about that is a chuckle and a sigh .
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EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #8
So, since they have stated that they will be offering their songs in the MP3 format, will iTS be selling 128kbps mp3 files then?

Nobody knows the format yet. The press conference has yet to start (about and hour and half remains). Once I hear what format Apple/EMI will be using, I will post the details here in this thread.

It could be a lossless format for all we know (Apple Lossless and/or an iTunes converter to/from FLAC). This follows Apple's Steve Jobs' "open letter" a few months ago where he urged the 'major labels' to remove DRM restrictions on digital music.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #9
Apple wants to sell iPods, so the format will most probably stay in the realm of AAC and Apple-Lossless.
I am arrogant and I can afford it because I deliver.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #10
This is definitely excellent news.

I hope this comes with a bitrate increase. Even to 160kbps would be enough to get me to switch to using iTunes exclusively for music.
iTunes 10 - Mac OS X 10.6
256kbps AAC VBR
iPhone 4 32GB

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #11
Now where are all the people screaming "HE'S DOING IT FOR THE PUBLICITY"?
err... i'm not using windows any more ;)

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #12
Now where are all the people screaming "HE'S DOING IT FOR THE PUBLICITY"?


I never thought that in the first place. I think Jobs meant just what he said: Apple would sooner not have to maintain the DRM and have the contractual obligation to fix it whenever it's broken in short order.

Bill G still believes in DRM--hell, look how protection for "premium content" has been baked-in for Vista. But Steve Jobs is smart enough to know it's like Canute calling back the waves. Plus MS's business revolves around software, so they look to tie people in to their software, their formats, their DRM. Apple mostly makes its money off hardware sales, where margins are higher, so is free of the need to completely dominate, by fair means or foul, in order to be highly profitable.

However, what Jobs wants and what EMI is prepared to allow are different matters. I'm waiting to hear whether this is about DRM-free music, the Beatles, or both. My guess is the third option, but I think the question is still open. I think if EMI has decided to go with DRM-free content through the iTS it will be in the form of MPEG4 audio at 128kbps CBR. Not what everybody wants, but that's the emerging industry standard, and it'll suit a lot of people and also save complicating matters.


ADDED:

BTW, live webcast from EMI in 20 minutes or so:

http://www.emigroup.com/Default.htm

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #13
Site bogged down page not loading argh!

HAHA: WMA or Real Player only.


AHAHAHA


AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAAAAA

EMI you are complete idiots
err... i'm not using windows any more ;)

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #14
Bill G still believes in DRM--hell, look how protection for "premium content" has been baked-in for Vista.

Yeah, and I suppose content protection isn't a part of OSX either  Apple will have to comply with AACS, etc. if they want native playback of HD discs. Besides, none of the protections are an issue if the content isn't protected in the first place. Also, IIRC, some of the hacks for FairPlay just didn't work on OSX, but they worked on Windows.

But Steve Jobs is smart enough to know it's like Canute calling back the waves. Plus MS's business revolves around software, so they look to tie people in to their software, their formats, their DRM. Apple mostly makes its money off hardware sales, where margins are higher, so is free of the need to completely dominate, by fair means or foul, in order to be highly profitable.

I don't think Jobs is doing it for publicity. But I also think that, like any businessperson, he's motivated by profit, not ideals. In other words, he'd still be behind DRM if it presented a more profitable route for Apple. It's been widely written by pundits that FairPlay existed more to lock iTMS customers into the Apple ecosystem than for the labels' sake. Now that the drawbacks of DRM are being made public and iTMS sales growth is slowing, it makes sense to spur growth by dropping the protections. Make no mistake about it - vendor lock-in is as big a goal (if not bigger) for Apple than it is for MS, precisely because they sell and develop both hardware and software.

The difference between Apple and MS is that they're a lot better at PR than MS ever will be. They've done to the music business what MS did to PCs - strike a deal with the mainstream producers that left them in effective control of the bulk of the market. As such, they can easily outplay MS and other competitors just as MS has (for the most part) easily fended off software competition.

None of this is about Jobs being angel from heaven, or being a publicity hog. He's just an astute businessman who made the first move and is reaping the rewards.
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EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #16
Here is what is going to be announced (from press release)

"Apple's iTunes Store is the first online music store to receive EMI's new premium downloads. Apple has announced that iTunes will make individual AAC format tracks available from EMI artists at twice the sound quality of existing downloads, with their DRM removed, at a price of $1.29/€1.29/£0.99. iTunes will continue to offer consumers the ability to pay $0.99/€0.99/£0.79 for standard sound quality tracks with DRM still applied. Complete albums from EMI Music artists purchased on the iTunes Store will automatically be sold at the higher sound quality and DRM-free, with no change in the price. Consumers who have already purchased standard tracks or albums with DRM will be able to upgrade their digital music for $0.30/€0.30/£0.20 per track. All EMI music videos will also be available on the iTunes Store DRM-free with no change in price."

It will be AAC at double the bandwidth (256k) DRM-free for $1.29 a track or 30 cents extra if you already bought an EMI track from iTunes. Or buy the album and get 256k premium encoded DRM files with no premium of album price.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #17
None of this is about Jobs being angel from heaven.


What a load of rot! Where did I write, "Steve Jobs is an angel from heaven"? I said he was "smart" and that Apple's business model didn't require DRM.

And it's a done deal now, as I thought:

http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/scie...rops+drm/375352

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #18
Consumers who have already purchased standard tracks or albums with DRM will be able to upgrade their digital music for $0.30/€0.30/£0.20 per track.


HAHA! What a rip-off!
Hence, you are better of being a "pirate". The music is JUST as available, completely DRM-free and in high quality rips (usually).

Fees for re-encodes???? COME ON!
myspace.com/borgei - last.fm/user/borgei

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #19
Also any EMI albums bought on iTunes will stay the same price, with NO DRM and higher quality.

256kbps AAC is DRM free, CONFIRMED!
iTunes 10 - Mac OS X 10.6
256kbps AAC VBR
iPhone 4 32GB

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #20
Holy crap! I thought for sure since the original news articles referred to were posted on the 1st it was a joke...I was quite wrong. I do think their approach is not the best. While I agree with DRM free, I think what they really need to do is reduce the price to encourage more people to buy more music. If the music was more reasonably priced and drm free there would be little incentive for people to suffer through p2p networks.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #21
256kbps is really good. Too bad the price is ludicrous. Now to see what the other stores will offer
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EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #22
Today the music industry removes DRM. What's next? Bill Gates basing the next Windows on Linux?

I don't know what to say. I'm just...      But hell, it's great with double bandwidth - But why don't they just take it all the way to lossless? But the path are not as long anymore
Can't wait for a HD-AAC encoder :P

 

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #23
So now that we have 256K AAC as the "new base standard" to replace the old 128K AAC and MP3 sold via online stores, I guess I will ask the enevitable question:  When will he have a 256K AAC listening test on HA?

LAME 256K MP3 vs. iTunes 256K AAC encoder vs. Nero 256K AAC vs. Ogg Vorbis 256K vs. Coding Technology 256k AAC

How many of the above encoders have been tuned with 256K bitrate in mind? Perhaps now the developers will have to go back to re-tune/optimize them for the 256K bitrate, like they have been doing with 128K for years.

EMI and Apple to remove DRM from most of their music on iTunes

Reply #24
I think this is fantastic news!

Yes, too bad about the price premium, but remember that other DRM-free shops (like e.g. Bleep, who offer VBR MP3 files) also have comparable prices.

And 256kbps AAC is certainly "good enough" for me. Yes, it's still not lossless, but at this quality level I don't think I'll be able to hear any artifacts. For some purposes, I'll need to transcode to MP3 (car radio, el cheapo MP3 flash player for running), but in those cases I don't need 100% transparent sound anyway.

So now that we have 256K AAC as the "new base standard" to replace the old 128K AAC and MP3 sold via online stores, I guess I will ask the enevitable question:  When will he have a 256K AAC listening test on HA?

LAME 256K MP3 vs. iTunes 256K AAC encoder vs. Nero 256K AAC vs. Ogg Vorbis 256K vs. Coding Technology 256k AAC

Never. This would be useless since almost nobody would be able to hear a difference between the encoded files.
Over thinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind.

 
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