Monday, April 2nd 2007

The End of DRM Could be in Sight

Digital Rights Management is famous for frustrating numerous people that chose to download music legally when it comes to sharing between devices, whilst the illegal file sharers sit there laughing at them. But now it seems one of the major record labels, EMI, could be listening to customers at last. Rumours are flying around the internet claiming that Steve Jobs’ visit to London to speak with EMI could be to negotiate a deal that will see significant amounts of EMI’s music catalogue being available to download on iTunes without anti-piracy software, something music fans have been begging for since the start of the legal music downloads. If this is true, then it might not take long for the other major record labels to respond with DRM-free music, a move which would make it much easier for music downloaders to play their music on different MP3 players. There will be a live audio webcast of the press conference at 1pm London time on EMI's website, which is when the deal is supposed to be announced.Source: CNET

Update: it's official, EMI has launched DRM-free downloads across its entire music catalogue (although iTunes will get it first) - read on for the press release.

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

London, 2 April 2007 -- EMI Music today announced that it is launching new premium downloads for retail on a global basis, making all of its digital repertoire available at a much higher sound quality than existing downloads and free of digital rights management (DRM) restrictions.

The new higher quality DRM-free music will complement EMI's existing range of standard DRM-protected downloads already available. From today, EMI's retailers will be offered downloads of tracks and albums in the DRM-free audio format of their choice in a variety of bit rates up to CD quality. EMI is releasing the premium downloads in response to consumer demand for high fidelity digital music for use on home music systems, mobile phones and digital music players. EMI's new DRM-free products will enable full interoperability of digital music across all devices and platforms.

Eric Nicoli, CEO of EMI Group, said, "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. 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.

"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."

"Selling digital music DRM-free is the right step forward for the music industry," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "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."Source: EMI
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12 Comments on The End of DRM Could be in Sight

#1
Wile E
Power User
I'm an audiophile, so I probably wouldn't download songs, unless everyone switched to a lossless codec. But still, this is great news. I hope it's true, and it sets a trend in the industry. Die RIAA, die! lol
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#2
Jimmy 2004
Well, it's true - EMI has confirmed it, so good news for music downloads :)
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#3
TUngsten
by: Wile E
I'm an audiophile, so I probably wouldn't download songs, unless everyone switched to a lossless codec. But still, this is great news. I hope it's true, and it sets a trend in the industry. Die RIAA, die! lol
I'm with Wile E

DL music just sounds like crap to me....and my old HK tube amp just plain doesn't like it either!
Posted on Reply
#4
Jimmy 2004
by: TUngsten
I'm with Wile E

DL music just sounds like crap to me....and my old HK tube amp just plain doesn't like it either!
In the PR they say that the music will also be better quality, although I haven't looked for too many details on that yet.
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#5
Ryethe
I find it hilairous how everyone was calling out Steve Jobs saying that if he wanted DRM free music he should take the first step. Well, boys Steve responded. I have a lot of respect for Steve for following through with his idea.

EDIT: I don't mean everyone here, I mean in the media.
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#6
EastCoasthandle
From what I hear it will cost $1.29 per song now. If this is true, I wonder if it's still worth it?
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#7
Ryethe
This is to be expected. Un-DRMing music will create more casual pirates since it will be so easy to just transfer a file to a friend. Plus higher quality music.

You only get what you pay for, therefore: No DRM + Higher Quality Music = Costs more money.
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#8
Jimmy 2004
by: EastCoasthandle
From what I hear it will cost $1.29 per song now. If this is true, I wonder if it's still worth it?
Users can pay $0.30 to upgrade their current music to remove DRM and double the quality.
New songs can be bought either at the current quality and price ($0.99) with DRM, or double the quality and at $1.29 without DRM.
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#9
Darkrealms
by: EastCoasthandle
From what I hear it will cost $1.29 per song now. If this is true, I wonder if it's still worth it?
If you think about it, downloading a few high quality songs instead of buying the whole CD for those same songs is worth it.

I've only dealt with companies that offer high quality in the past anyway. I think I may be more encoraged to purchase if I don't have to go and DeDRM my music (I've always had to in the past for functionality).
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#10
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
Alright, it seems Steve Jobs got others to see his point. Now, Apple, will have to lose their DRM in the iTunes now.
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#11
Benpi
I just hope taht I'll be able to download DRM free music from other stores besides just iTunes. I hope there's not some shitty deal being made that allows DRM free stuff only to be sold on iTunes.
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#12
wazzledoozle
DRM is the wrong approach to control digital-media piracy.

They should just put an ID tag into the audio of every file, which corresponds to the user's account who downloaded the song.
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