Apple announces DRM Free song in iTunes with Higher Quality Audio

itunes.jpgWhen Steve Jobs releases his essay “Thoughts on Music” lots of critics responded with “put up or shut up, Steve”.

Well, today Steve Jobs and EMI officially “put up”.

There have been two complaints from customers about digital downloads from the iTunes Music store….

1) Audio Quality. The 128 kbps AAC encodings bothered audiophiles who felt they weren’t high enough quality to purchase.

2) DRM. The restrictions of DRM are something that everyone hates, and it has kept some users from embracing iTunes.

Today, Steve Jobs and EMI are correcting both of those issues with all EMI content starting in May. The entire EMI catalog will be added to the iTunes store in new versions – 256 kbps AAC encoded and DRM free for $1.29.

From the Press Release:

“We are going to give iTunes customers a choice — the current versions of our songs for the same 99 cent price, or new DRM-free versions of the same songs with even higher audio quality and the security of interoperability for just 30 cents more,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We think our customers are going to love this, and we expect to offer more than half of the songs on iTunes in DRM-free versions by the end of this year.”

“EMI and iTunes are once again teaming up to move the digital music industry forward by giving music fans higher quality audio that is virtually indistinguishable from the original recordings, with no usage restrictions on the music they love from their favorite artists,” said Eric Nicoli, CEO of EMI Group.

As I’m typing this a Tweet from Michael Arrington of TechCrunch just popped up. It says, “April 2, 2007: The day DRM died.”

I think that’s a very true statement. This announcement is absolutely huge beyond words….and I would say it’s the most significant announcement in the history of digital music. The press release goes on to quote Jobs, “We think our customers are going to love this, and we expect to offer more than half of the songs on iTunes in DRM-free versions by the end of this year.”

This is really great news.

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