EMI to Release Entire Catalog DRM-free on Amazon.com
May 16, 2007
Compared most other mainstream/big-music labels, EMI is about as progressive as they come. Their policies, at least recently, are more reflective of independent labels, as EMI has begun the process of liberating their catalog from the clutches of DRM infestation.
The move towards liberalization has been slow but steady. The process began last year when EMI launched several tracks that were DRM-free. EMI made an exponentially more substantial move in April, when the music label announced a partnership with Apple that would sell its entire catalog DRM-free on iTunes. When the service goes live (it has yet to do so), the DRM-free music will cost $0.30 more than the standard DRM drone.
Building on last month's news, EMI has announced today
a new partnership with Amazon.com, where again the music label's entire catalog will be released DRM-free (to be launched "later this year".) Similar to the proposed availability on iTunes, the tracks will be of higher quality than the typical $0.99 track. And unlike iTunes, the tracks will be sold in MP3 format, assuring the files are playable and transportable to just about any device imaginable.
"Amazon.com is synonymous with a great consumer experience, and they have become an important retail partner of ours," Eric Nicoli, CEO of EMI Group said in today's press release. "I applaud Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com for making this move. Amazon.com’s deep understanding of consumers and vast knowledge of music paves the way for a smooth entry into the digital arena. Their arrival in the digital music market will offer even more consumer choice and will be a big advance in addressing the lack of interoperability which has frustrated many music fans.”
Although short of a powerplay move on the part of EMI and Amazon, the partnership is significant nevertheless. Not because the tracks will be DRM-free, but because their availability will be in MP3 format - something sorely lacking at the iTunes camp. This ups the pressure on iTunes, whose AAC/iPod union has been successful in cornering the market. However the longevity of this philosophy may soon find its back against the wall, as EMI/Amazon's catalog will be compatible with all MP3 players.
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