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EMI Launches DRM-Free Music

Postby IceCube » Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:55 pm

EMI is one of the four major members of the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). The major record label and DRM (Digital Rights Management) have had an interesting past. With occasional rumblings of offering DRM free music, it seems that these rumblings have become a reality with their latest announcement.

Last year, EMI had experimented with DRM-free music. They released a track by Lily Allen in <a href=http://hypebot.typepad.com/hypebot/2006/11/is_emi_experime.html target=_blank>MP3 format</a>. Also last year was the <a href=http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/1700AP_MP3_Music.html target=_blank>release</a> of Norah Jones and Reliant K tracks in MP3 format as well. Some speculated that EMI would be the first of the "Big Four" to divorce itself from DRM formats.

Then came the news of <a href=http://www.slyck.com/news.php?story=1406 target=_blank>Warner Music's proposed takeover of EMI</a> early this year. Some wondered if this was to prevent any release of DRM-free music by an RIAA member. But like the other occasions where another RIAA member proposed to tie the corporate knot, the deal never came to fruitation as EMI rejected the proposal, stating that it wasn't in their interest.

Now today in a press conference at EMI headquarters in London, CEO Eric Nicoli announced that EMI Music is launching DRM-free "superior quality downloads" across its entire digital catalogue. Apple's iTunes, a music store long known to be encoding music in propriatry DRM formats, would be the first digital store to sell the music as well.

"Our goal is to give consumers the best possible digital music experience. By providing DRM-free downloads, we aim to address the lack of interoperability which is frustrating for many music fans." Eric Nicoli said during the press conference, "We believe that offering consumers the opportunity to buy higher quality tracks and listen to them on the device or platform of their choice will boost sales of digital music."

The sale of the DRM-free music will complement the existing selection of DRM-encoded tracks already avaliable. "Superior quality downloads" isn't just a new catch-phrase either; the music will be avaliable in a variety of bit-rates all the way up to CD quality - a way of selling that can be likened to the quality selection seen on Russian music store AllofMP3.com.

"Apple have been a true pioneer in digital music, and we are delighted that they share our vision of an interoperable market that provides consumers with greater choice, quality, convenience and value for money," Eric said.

EMI isn't alone in wanting to sell DRM-free music. Earlier this year, Steve Jobs stunned many when he released his <a href=http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/ target=_blank>Thoughts on Music</a>, which takes a critical look at DRM. This rumbling turned out to not be just words either.

"Selling digital music DRM-free is the right step forward for the music industry," explained Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who joined the press conference. "EMI has been a great partner for iTunes and is once again leading the industry as the first major music company to offer its entire digital catalogue DRM-free."

Then comes the issue of price. People who have purchased the standard quality tracks with DRM will be allowed to "downgrade" their digital music to $0.30/€0.30/£0.20 per track. With twice the sound quality and without DRM, new customers will also be able to purchase the tracks at $1.29/€1.29/£0.99 per track. All of EMI's music videos will remain at the same price, but also without DRM.

EMI expects customers to be able to purchase DRM-free music in other digital music stores in the coming weeks, leaving the retailers to choose what format to sell the music in.

As for subscription services such as Napster, EMI said that they will continue to employ DRM solutions. Limited-time ad supported services will also continue to use DRM for protection.

Does this mean an end to anti-piracy all-together? Not quite. "Protecting the intellectual property of EMI and our artists is as important as ever, and we will continue to work to fight piracy in all its forms and to educate consumers." Nicoli added, "We believe that fans will be excited by the flexibility that DRM-free formats provide, and will see this as an incentive to purchase more of our artists' music."
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Postby SlyckTom » Mon Apr 02, 2007 6:47 pm

Very interesting development from EMI...Surprised no one else has discussed this.
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Postby Duncker » Mon Apr 02, 2007 6:49 pm

A step in the right direction. Now they just need to fire a couple dosen executive's so they can cut the price to 1/4 of the suggested.
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Postby multivariable » Mon Apr 02, 2007 6:57 pm

Eric Nicoli said, rather than wrote:We believe that offering consumers the opportunity to buy higher quality tracks and listen to them on the device or platform of their choice will boost sales of digital music.

No shit, Sherlock. Took you long enough. Now all you need to do is address the ridiculous issue of charging US$1.29 for a song.
Last edited by multivariable on Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nutty-Slack » Mon Apr 02, 2007 7:32 pm

:P

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Postby Widdle » Mon Apr 02, 2007 7:38 pm

Every other publication that I read has quoted the price at US $1.29 per track.

It is a good move for the industry though...although I wonder if they've lost an entire generation to piracy...now that we're used to it and good at it will people really change? The next generation should be set up for a good legal business though.
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Postby curzlgt » Mon Apr 02, 2007 7:52 pm

Widdle wrote:The next generation should be set up for a good legal business though.


And by that time, inflation factored, their $1.29 price point will actually be reasonable :P
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Postby IceCube » Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:26 pm

Personally, if they did this before I went very heavy into underground electronica, they would have made a customer out of me.

Though admittedly, I have found a track or two under EMI that was classified under electronica. Still, these are priced better then some of the digital stores like BeatPort rather competitively. Looks like there's competition with indie music once again.

...just some personal observations on the issue.

goes to listen to some more Airbase
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Postby SlyckTom » Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:34 pm

From the press release

Apple's iTunes Store (http://www.itunes.com) 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.


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Postby MrFredPFL » Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:42 pm

good eye, widdle. tell them fred says you get a free album now :)
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Postby SlyckTom » Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:06 pm

He gets the Slyck Brownie...
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Postby MrFredPFL » Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:16 pm

:lol: u wanna break that news to cube? he's gonna be heartbroken ;)
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Postby SlyckTom » Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:17 pm

heh...well I think I can whip up another for Ice...
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Postby Drake » Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:21 pm

There are usually between 12-15 songs on a CD.
$1.29 X 12 = $15.48. They are screwing their paying customers once again but this shouldn't surprise anyone.

They can charge half that amount and still make more than the amount they would make by selling CDs because of the costs involved in producing and distributing CDs.

For the people who think this is a decent deal and will plunk down $1.29/song all I have to say is, enjoy your music...suckers. :lol:
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Postby IceCube » Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:26 pm

MrFredPFL wrote:good eye, widdle. tell them fred says you get a free album now :)


SlyckTom wrote:He gets the Slyck Brownie...


MrFredPFL wrote::lol: u wanna break that news to cube? he's gonna be heartbroken ;)


SlyckTom wrote:heh...well I think I can whip up another for Ice...


:lol: :lol:

Bring me forth another news story!

...either that or you get to write a story about how great my music is. I wouldn't mind some extra free advertising ;)

Meanwhile, enjoy my Slyck Brownie Widdle. ;)
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Postby multivariable » Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:51 pm

IceCube wrote:Meanwhile, enjoy my Slyck Brownie Widdle. ;)

:lol: I'm not sure why, but that just sounds soooo wrong :lol:
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Postby piXelatedEmpire » Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:21 pm

multivariable wrote:
IceCube wrote:Meanwhile, enjoy my Slyck Brownie Widdle. ;)

:lol: I'm not sure why, but that just sounds soooo wrong :lol:

rofl :lol: :lol: :lol:

and disturbing! :shock:
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Postby Wham » Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:57 pm

Exciting news indeed! Say, I wonder if this is an April fools joke?
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Postby Ne007 » Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:12 am

A little too late and after WAY too many lawsuits.

Sorry...I'm still not buying anything from crooked bastards.
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Postby swoosh » Tue Apr 03, 2007 9:51 am

Can Vista play these? :?
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Postby eAi » Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:12 am

Of course, anything that supports AAC can.
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not the deal they want you to think...

Postby milrtime83 » Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:29 am

So they're charging more for something they should have been giving consumers in the first place? (no DRM and higher bitrate)
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Postby HouseCrowd » Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:27 pm

It's a good move, but it's over 5 years too late IMO. Had they done this much earlier, far less people would've turned to file-sharing for their music. It's difficult to get people to change their ways when they've found something they're comfortable with using, especially if you're asking them to pay for something which they're already getting for free.
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Postby thejynxed » Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:39 pm

My sentiments exactly. They've gone and shut the barn door after the horse has already fled.

Besides, who are any of the "artists" on EMI?

I think the last album I purchased was by Loreena McKennitt...and that was from her website (Quinlan Road - good stuff, you can purchase her music DRM free in Lossless formats for less than it costs for a cd at the store).

I am also a Magnatune customer so...yeah ;)
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Postby qm2003 » Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:50 pm

Especially when the price is simply unjustifiable and outrageous ...

(ment for HouseCrowd's remarks)
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