It’s no secret that consumers aren’t the only ones who detest digital rights management (DRM). No one likes to be told what they can and cannot do with music they’ve legally purchased and downloaded. And today, record label EMI (one of the “big four”) announced that it will soon be doing something about it.
Well, sort of. Beginning in May, EMI will be serving up its entire digital catalog completely unshackled and in higher quality. First to receive the new offering will be (surprise!) the Apple iTunes Store, who will sell its patrons DRM-free 256kbps AAC tracks for $1.29 apiece alongside DRM-full 128kbps tunes (also in AAC) for the standard $0.99 price. The price of full EMI albums and music videos will not change, even though they will available sans DRM, and consumers can “upgrade” (i.e., remove the DRM from) already purchased songs for a fee of $0.30/each.
Although this is certainly a step in the right direction (and Microsoft may be next to follow suit), forgive us for being less than thrilled over the upcoming availability of more expensive music encoded in a format that few players actually support.