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EMI May Remove DRM From Parts of Catalog

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the almost-too-good-to-be-true dept.

Encryption 161

An anonymous reader writes "Ars Technica is reporting that EMI may announce on Monday that it will be freeing much of its catalog from the shackles of DRM. The Wall Street Journal, in a subscription-only portion of its site, is saying that that Apple CEO Steve Jobs will be present at the announcement in London and that the music will be sold through the iTunes Store and possibly other online outlets. In early February rumblings were heard that EMI was thinking about ditching DRM, but EMI was unable to entice the likes of Apple, Microsoft, and others. As it turned out, EMI wanted a considerable advance payment to offset what it perceived as a risk: selling DRM-free music online. EMI's position was simple: if they sell music without DRM, then users will find trading it that much easier." There's also rumours of an Apple/Beatles announcement sometime today, perhaps tied into this drm decision.

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If this is true.... (1, Funny)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571729)

If this is true....Let's hope disney/pixar content is next ;-)

(and the 'encryption' tag is wrong - encryption involves three parties & drm only two)

Re:If this is true.... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571847)

If it is true (and let's all hope so), I expect dozens of Apple haters who have been claiming that Steve was lying about Apple's preference for no DRM to man up and apologize here in this thread.

If it's not true, well, there's always another day.

Re:If this is true.... (1, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571937)

Steve was lying about Apple's preference for no DRM to man up and apologize here in this thread.

I said Jobs was hypocritical for arguing against DRM while Apple seems happy to dish DRM out to its customers.

If it's not true, well, there's always another day.

Judging by the fact that you're not willing to login, I'd say it's going to be another day....

Re:If this is true.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18572333)

So to you, a man is a hypocrite when he speaks out against something, and works to change it?

And don't give me crap about indie labels. They may be great, but most of Apple's customers are buying major-label music. If an anti-DRM crusade is going to matter, the big labels will have to be on board.

wmf, we all know you're a bit of a cynic, but today's announcement is a major and important shift in the distribution of online music, and it wasn't whining on message boards that made it happen. Steve has had a way of working as an intermediary between the labels and their customers which has brought us to what I think is a reasonable solution. Without Apple, we'd all be renting music from Microsoft&Co. at this point.

Re:If this is true.... (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572505)

So to you, a man is a hypocrite when he speaks out against something, and works to change it?

Of course not, I think someone's a hypocrite when they speak out against something whilst allowing it to happen within their own company(ies).

Re:If this is true.... (1, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571981)

If it is true (and let's all hope so), I expect dozens of Apple haters who have been claiming that Steve was lying about Apple's preference for no DRM to man up and apologize here in this thread.
I notice that you're not sure enough about this to "man up", stand by your assertion for posterity and at least log in to say this.

By the way, "man up" is one hell of a stupid phrase, of the type spouted duckspeak-style by morons who base their definition of manhood on stupid, pseudo-macho, group-approved, adolescent language. The same type of people who'll buy any old crap if enough money is spent advertising it with a "macho" image. You're not men, you're insecure, immature and easily-influenced little boys.

Anyway, "man up" actually sounds pretty gay when you think about it; ironic when you consider that such adolescent pseudo-men are the most likely to spout such crap *and* be the most homophobic.

Re:If this is true.... (1)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571873)

In the case of DRM the third party is the friend (an actual person or just another device) whom I actually want to let "eavesdrop" and get the information. But the music industry is making sure no third party can "steal" from us, whether we like it or not.

Looks like it *is* true (3, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572267)

As I write this, the BBC have a "breaking news" article that appears to confirm that EMI are dropping mandatory DRM [bbc.co.uk] .

Short version: you will be able to buy DRM-free files, which will cost you more, but will also be of higher quality. You will also be able to upgrade existing DRM'd music to the "premium" DRM-free format for a small fee.

Re:If this is true.... (1)

vought (160908) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572297)

It would seem EMI has made their entire catalog available DRM-free, according to Reuters:

EMI and Apple Agree Anti - Piracy Software Deal
By REUTERS
Published: April 2, 2007
Filed at 8:30 a.m. ET
LONDON (Reuters) - EMI Group Plc (EMI.L) said on Monday it was making its music catalog available through Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) iTunes store without the anti-piracy measure known as digital rights management (DRM).

``The new higher quality DRM-free music will complement EMI's existing range of standard DRM-protected downloads already available,'' EMI said in a statement as the company began a joint press conference in central London with Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs.

Will it play on iPod and Rio? (3, Interesting)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571759)

All this removing DRM is fine, but if i download from iTunes, will i be able to drag-drop the same into a Rio?
Or am i still locked into iTunes iPod combination?
I own only an iPod, so i would not notice it even, but for some who own a Rio/some other music player, can i buy from iTunes, and then listen to it on Rio?
If not, then iam moving from a closer jail to a bigger jail.

WTF IS A RIO? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571781)

Rio De Janeiro?

Re:Will it play on iPod and Rio? (5, Informative)

Khakionion (544166) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571819)

"Or am i still locked into iTunes iPod combination?"

DRM is what locks iTunes purchases to the iPod. If you buy non-DRM tracks, they will play on anything capable of reading that format. The iTunes Store sells AAC tracks, so chances are it will work with any modern music player.

Re:Will it play on iPod and Rio? (2, Insightful)

MadJo (674225) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571979)

My modern iAudio U3 does not play AAC.
But I can't run iTunes on my pc anyway (no linux client), so it doesn't matter much for me.

Re:Will it play on iPod and Rio? (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572115)

Yes, but now you can format-shift without technical hurdles and legal prohibitions.

Re:Will it play on iPod and Rio? (1)

MadJo (674225) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572245)

and lose quality ;)

Re:Will it play on iPod and Rio? (2, Funny)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572449)

Just when all doubted there would still be things for people like you to whine about, you've restored our faith in your ability to whine like a baby.

Waaaahh! My MP3 player won't play AAC and there isn't iTunes for Linux (unless you use WINE). Waaaaaahh!

Re:Will it play on iPod and Rio? (5, Informative)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571849)

If your Rio supports m4a files (assuming the non DRM will be AAC) and presents itself as a disk drive to your operating system, then the answer is yes. Right now you can just select and drag songs in iTunes to any folder and it will simply copy the files. It even does this with protected files. It's a useful feature for backing up.

Re:Will it play on iPod and Rio? (2, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571927)

You may need to transcode it into a format the Rio supports, but without the DRM, that won't be a problem other than either a slight loss of quality or a much larger file size.

Open (2, Insightful)

simpl3x (238301) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572205)

As they've publicly announced, this will hopefully dispel all of the statements that Jobs was full of it and playing games with his opinion piece. Since I have never purchased anything from the iTMS, I have no copy protection. I've loaded files on a Nokia N880 and they play, so they should play on the Rio if AAC is supported.

As you can export any of your non-DRM music from iTunes, any jail cell you inhabit is of your own making. Apparently, here on /. your not alone in that cell however.

Re:Will it play on iPod and Rio? (2, Informative)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572211)

The DRM free music will not just be for iTunes, so they won't just be in AAC. So all players benefit, just not from iTunes which will probably still sell in AAC.

Read about it here:
EMI's press release [emigroup.com]

I wonder if indie labels will also be able to sell non-DRM'd tracks on iTunes now.

Don't count on others following suit. (4, Insightful)

HugePedlar (900427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571771)

EMI's share price has been plummeting for months. My guess is they're desperate to try anything. Hopefully the risk will pay off, but if the share price continues to fall, it won't look encouraging for other record companies. As of this morning they're only up half a percent.

Unlimited edition (2)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571909)

EMI's share price has been plummeting for months. My guess is they're desperate to try anything.
I tell you it was all a frame, they only did it 'cos of fame - who? EMI.

Re:Unlimited edition (1)

Moderatbastard (808662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572207)

I'm amazed someone got that. Or maybe it was just one of those accidents that happen when mods take crack.

Sex Pistols Revenge? (2, Funny)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572021)

"EMI... Good-bye"

Re:Don't count on others following suit. (1)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572161)

Bad for them, good for us. If this works from the industry's standpoint - and right now, there's no telling whether it will or not - then that should open the door for the other labels.

Note that there's a very big "if" followed by a medium sized "should" here, so there's no telling what might happen. But if the music industry is shown (because they won't see for themselves) that DRM is bad for business, then and only then will they do the right thing.

Re:Don't count on others following suit. (1)

MadJo (674225) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572315)

perhaps EMI should try a little 'bum rushing the charts'? :)

Am I the only person (1)

Runefox (905204) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571773)

Who thought they meant electromagnetic interference?

Re:Am I the only person (3, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571867)

Who thought they meant electromagnetic interference?

Probably.

But now that you mention it, sufficently large amounts of EMI would certainly remove DRM from most types of media but this may be in the category of cures which kill the disease and the patient.

Risky (2, Funny)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571777)

I'd consider paying for and downloading DRM-free music, but it sounds pretty risky to me. I know, CDs have no DRM, but we're talking about unprotected digital files here. I think I'm going to need a considerable downpayment to offset the risks, say in the order of a few million US dollars. Anyone else feel they need a downpayment before risking a download? Sounds like Apple's wallet's open.

Re:Risky (2, Insightful)

cyclop (780354) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571807)

Yes but CDs become digital files so easily and so often today that the division between the two realms is pretty much senseless.

Re:Risky (1)

Fordiman (689627) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571975)

Ah... CDs are a collection of a specialized raw format of 44100Hz, 16 bit, stereo PCM file, with error correction built into the physical transport layer.

They are a media for transporting digital information; not only is the separation senseless, it's imaginary. If you buy a CD, you've bought eight-to-fourteen digital files.

Re:Risky (1)

chanrobi (944359) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571893)

Risky to you? It's not like you can contract an STD through drm-free music file. And why should the record companies pay you to download their music? But hey if you want to spearhead the push to get the record companies to pay me to download their music, i'm all for it ;)

Re:Risky (1)

Fordiman (689627) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571913)

*whoosh*

You missed the sarcasm there entirely. Of course, this just indicates you failed to RTFA.

Re:Risky (1)

Virgil Tibbs (999791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572255)

It's not like you can contract an STD through drm-free music file.

See Sony and the Rootkit (episode 1)

Re:Risky (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571897)

I'd consider paying for and downloading DRM-free music, but it sounds pretty risky to me.

I have ready access to all the games I could want thanks to a friend I know who's a very big pirate. I also know about GameCopyWorld [gamecopyworld.com] .

However, I still buy games. I don't pirate them. (Then I use the stuff at GameCopyWorld to allow them to be played without the original CD, but that's because I have small kids all over the place and I keep those valuable archival media on a high shelf.) Similarly, I buy CDs and rip them (on the rare occasions that any new music actually appeals to me). I've technically 'pirated' some music, but that was only for music I already had paid for in older analog formats.

In my experience, the people who would pirate stuff, would pirate stuff if it cost any amount greater than zero. But there are plenty of people who will be honest, too. I'm sure there's a sliding scale and everyone's somewhere on the spectrum, but I think there's enough people toward the honest side to enable a successful business.

Good for EMI (1)

thefirelane (586885) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571793)

However, it sounds like they are still tentative. The dumb thing is, DRM does much more for Apple than it does for EMI. Basically, they've created a group of consumers who are locked into continuing to use Apple's Store. This increases Apple's power and bargaining position. If they were smart, they'd remove DRM ASAP, so consumers could eventually have choice about where to buy music.. which would make the stores compete for the business of EMI. Oh well, I think they're too blind to realize this, so they'll continue to march off the cliff

Re:Good for EMI (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572051)

Basically, they've created a group of consumers who are locked into continuing to use Apple's Store.

Nah, it doesn't lock them into the store. There's nothing to stop iTS customers buying from elsewhere. It locks customers into buying Apple hardware (iPods), which is far more lucrative.

Re:Good for EMI (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572277)

I've just received the press release from Apple about this. Starting in May, they will be offering EMI tracks on the UK store at 256Kb/s AAC with no DRM for 99p. This is in contrast to other music which will remain 79p for 128Kb/s DRM'd AAC. Strangely, none of the indie labels (who already sell DRM-free downloads) appear to be on board.

I'll probably have a look and buy a couple of albums to encourage this kind of thing. 256Kb/s AAC is pretty good, and DRM free is excellent. Now all they have to do is offer some music that I want...

By the way, customers who already bought the DRM'd versions will be able to upgrade for 20p/track; just paying the difference between the two prices and not having to re-buy. I think this is a much more interesting precedent to set. How many people would have wanted to upgrade their entire collections from tape to CD and just pay the media cost?

Stop IT! (1, Informative)

ebackbone (1038178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571817)

hello?!?! it's already april 2. stop posting april fools material!! :@

(that's what you get when you go overboard slashdot admins)

Not a Joke (I hope) (0, Redundant)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571885)

This is not an AprilFools joke.
Jobs is in London and an announcement is due at 14:00BST today.
Quite what will be said remains a matter of speculation.

Re:Stop IT! (1)

tijmentiming (813664) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571899)

Stop using windows live messenger smileys. It makes you lame.

Not a joke (3, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571921)

Reuters [reuters.com] and the Wall Street Journal [wsj.com] are already reporting it.

Re:Not a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18572055)

One word: whoosh!

Re:Not a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18572213)

No, dipshit. There are TONS of people who think this is an April Fool's joke. The original poster is no doubt one of those idiots, even though this is reported in numerous places (and no, didn't originate from an April Fool's joke, either, as some people also still believe).

One word: whoosh!

Re:Not a joke (4, Informative)

mykdavies (1369) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572095)

Hot off the EMI website:
http://www.emigroup.com/Press/2007/press18.htm [emigroup.com]

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.

Re:Not a joke (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572147)

>$1.29/1.29/£0.99
Since when did $1.29 = £0.99? £0.65 maybe... Even by the usual ripoff $/£ conversion rates this is a bit much.

And MP3??? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571831)

What about MP3, getting rid of the DRM makes it easier to put on my MP3 player but I'd still rather just buy the damn MP3 VBR format to start with.

I have to say I'm suspicious, I just want to buy the music, I don't want to sign up to a store that may or may not have DRM'd music, I just want to buy a track and know it will be mp3 vbr, with no nasty surprises, and no complicated EULA, and no BITE ME IN THE ASS drm.

Am I asking too much? I have money, real money with no EULA to sign before you take it, it is yours to spend, I'm not claiming any IP rights over this money. You know, you sell me a copy of what I want, I give you money in exchange. Remember the good old days???

Re:And MP3??? (1)

Fordiman (689627) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571933)

It will very likely be in AAC format. This isn't bad, per se, as many mp3 players support AAC very well (though, they ALL support mp3).

Also, AAC transcodes at very low loss to MP3, if you're using the right software.

Re:And MP3??? (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572143)

if you're using the right software.

Don't leave me hangin'... such as?

yeh but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18572169)

If it's AAC through iTunes, then stuff I buy from iTunes MAY OR MAY NOT WORK on my MP3 player. If they have their DRM on it, it won't because I can't transcode it.

So it would be like walking into a mine field, maybe I'll be OK and navigate the field correctly, but maybe I'll download something and BOOM, stupid me, that track has Apple's DRM all over it and I can only play it on iPod. I'd just rather not do that.

When they offer MP3 through a store I trust not to trick me, then I'll buy. I'm hopeful that this will happen as a result of EMIs move. I'd like to backfill my MP3 player. There's a lot of good bands in the EMI catalogue I'd like to buy.

Re:And MP3??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18572289)

"I don't want to sign up to a store that may or may not have DRM'd music,"

I think you have a problem then, since EVERY store "may or may not have DRM'd music," even stores that have nothing to do with music.

"May or may not" has to be the most idiotic phrase currently in use, since it establishes absolutely nothing.

Re:And MP3??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18572531)

"May or may not" has to be the most idiotic phrase currently in use, since it establishes absolutely nothing.


Thank you for highlighting one of the more pervasive weasel phrases in use today. It is filler language invented by people to serve as a disclaimer ("I didn't say we would, just that me may or may not...") and now used by the masses to sound more intelligent.

Re:And MP3??? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572309)

Why on earth would you want MP3? The sound quality is lower, and even a cheap mobile phone can play AAC these days, let along a dedicated player. I can understand complaining that AAC is too low quality and wanting something like FLAC, but wanting to ditch AAC in favour of MP3 is just silly (both are equally patent encumbered, by the way).

Whose the customer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18572487)

I'm sorry, I'm a little confused. Am I the customer with the money wanting to buy the product or you?

I know the quality of a good MP3 VBR encoding and it's no different than AAC and I don't want to change players. Since MP3 is the defacto pirate standard, millions of other people seem to agree.

So why should I buy AAC from Jobs? And why would I buy it from Jobs if I have to read the small print to see if it has DRM or not? The only people who frequent iTunes are iPod owners, and that's the way it will always be.
I'll wait till we get DRM free MP3 from an MP3 store.

Re:And MP3??? (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572359)

So shop at Allofmp3 already like the smart people do. Great selection, your choice of format and bit-rate, and no bullcrap EULAs.

Go Buy!! (5, Insightful)

Martian of Death (1081485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571845)

If they do announce this, I will go to the iTunes store and buy $50 worth of EMI music this evening. The only way other companies will follow suit is if Apple is telling them that EMI is selling more songs after DRM is removed.

Re:Go Buy!! (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572483)

That was my reaction also. Now, I've just got to find some EMI music on iTunes that I want and don't already own. (Might be hard.)

Wait! (1)

datafr0g (831498) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572567)

The Non DRM Tunes will not be be released until next month...

Re:Go Buy!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18572589)

If they do announce this, I will go to the iTunes store and buy $50 worth of EMI music this evening.

You might want to delay that impulse. Jobs says the non-DRM infested tracks will be available from May.

I Call April Fools (2, Funny)

Shihar (153932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571855)

The idea that Apple would sell non-DRMed music is laughable. DRM is what keeps the iTunes locked to iPods, and iPods locked to iTunes. It isn't like Apple has been begging other companies to let them strip the DRM from their products. On the contrary, indie labels that use iTunes have been begging Apple for years to let them sell their music DRM free and Apple has shown absolutely no interest in doing so.

Personally, I call April Fools. The day Apple doesn't try and tie hardware, software, and content all together is the day hell freezes over. If Apple really wanted to strip DRM from some of their music, they would have already done so for the labels that are begging for it.

Re:I Call April Fools (1)

yamamushi (903955) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571989)

It's April 2nd :)

Re:I Call April Fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18572085)

DRM is what keeps the iTunes locked to iPods, and iPods locked to iTunes.

You can use an iPod without the iTunes software and you can play non-iTunes store music on them so iPods are not locked to iTunes. You can also use iTunes without an iPod so iTunes isn't locked to iPods either. You can even use the iTunes software with non-iTunes store digital music. What I think you meant to say is "DRM is what keeps iTunes store purchased music locked to iPods for portable music playing". Which I freely admit isn't such a catchy sound-bite but is superior to what you said in that it has some basis in reality.

NB - I did not at any point challenge whether the rest of your commentary on Apple is true and I do not currently own any Apple products.

April fools? There was some speculation about EMI doing this at least a month ago so though this utterance may be a late April fool the idea that EMI are flirting with such a notion pre-dates April fools day 2007.

Re:I Call April Fools (1)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572155)

A much bigger problem, is that the music from the ITunes store is bound to ITunes, and that Apple therefor controls which operation system, and which portable music players, can play the music. That's the problem.

But once I get some free time, I will lock into the drm removing software, to see If I can play Music from the ITunes music store on Linux and Solaris.

If this is true (1)

Psx29 (538840) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571903)

then I have no doubt that "parts of it's catalog" means they may be testing it on a few select artists that may or may not even be popular.

Will you go back and eat your words? (4, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571993)

To all the people who thought Jobs' statement was PR bullshit to deflect criticism and that it "never really intended" to remove any DRM from any of its tracks, will you now go back and eat your words [slashdot.org] ?

All the folks who erroneously expected/thought that Apple should have been able to do this in "2-3 days, tops" on a massive service and infrastructure like iTunes, will you now go back and eat your words?

To all of the people who think Apple can just "flip a switch" for indies, utterly ignoring the fact that there may be other binding legal or contract obligations that need to be ironed out, will you now go back and eat your words?

For the people who ignorantly don't realize that there is a massive support operation behind iTunes, and Apple doesn't want to break things or confuse customers, and wanted to do it right, and wanted to force the labels' hands such that a big one would jump first, will you now go back and eat your words?

I'm willing to wait at least for the official announcement, but since Reuters and the WSJ have already independently reported this, all you naysayers who kept on saying this was just a big PR conspiracy by Apple and they really were oh-so-in-love with DRM and iTunes/iPod lock-in that they'd never remove DRM, you're welcome to use this thread for your apologies.

This, if all the reports really are true (and no, it isn't the result of an April Fool's joke for anyone who still thinks it is), represents the biggest shift in online media since online media itself: the biggest online store, actively willing to sell content without DRM, proving that Apple isn't interested in DRM and did only apply it because of studio demands.

And then, pragmatically getting ALL of the major studios onboard into online sales, working in countless countries and jurisdictions with different legal systems, doing something that no other company had done before, and just biding its time and dropping the no-DRM bombshell in the form of Jobs' statement.

I know people probably won't thank Apple for this, especially the folks who love to hate Apple. But for all of the people who ask "what Apple ever does", or "how do they innovate", here's yet another answer.

Re:Will you go back and eat your words? (2, Funny)

ady1 (873490) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572041)

No but we can lick the monitor a bit.

Re:Will you go back and eat your words? (1)

sarathmenon (751376) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572173)

I'd eat all that, if it were a burger or something. :)

Re:Will you go back and eat your words? (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572217)

But for all of the people who ask "what Apple ever does", or "how do they innovate", here's yet another answer.

Where is that other answer? Missed that. Apple started making noise just ahead of the popular-opinion wave hitting, and the press that can't see past the blinding Apple glare hyped it up as the next, first, and only time DRMless media had ever been proposed.

I'll still be sticking with the services that never had DRM in the first place. I'm not about to give anyone a standing ovation just because they finally unbolted the restrictions that they put there in the first place.

Re:Will you go back and eat your words? (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572317)

Please direct me to the other major label music or media stores legally selling major label content online without DRM.

Thanks!

(Believe it or not, some people want major label content.)

And the restrictions are there because they needed to be. Apple is now using its power and clout to slowly remove them, because DRM is worthless for all the reasons we already knew, including the reasons Jobs, in his statement, articulated. If EMI was teetering, Jobs statement pushed them over the edge.

Like all things Apple does, no, they weren't "the first" and may not have "invented" said concept, but, as usual, they're the first to do it right, do it with tools (or content) people actually use, and do it en masse. Like it or not, this is huge, and just like all of the other things Apple didn't invent but actually took mass-market and made easy to use, like the mouse, the GUI, desktop publishing (LaserWriter), 802.11 (AirPort), a usable online music/media store (iTunes), etc. and so on, this will stand as a major shift in online media.

No, Apple isn't some kind of savior. But give credit where credit's due.

Re:Will you go back and eat your words? (2, Interesting)

swissfondue (819240) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572387)

Michael Gartenberg [jupiterresearch.com] is giving the credit where it is due: "It is a good step forward for consumers but more importantly, it showed Apple at the forefront of acting as "champion" for consumer interests. After all, it wasn't Rob Glaser or Bill Gates up there with EMI. "

Re:Will you go back and eat your words? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18572223)

First of all, I haven't followed all these Slashdot comments to which you are referring and I certainly never wrote any of them. Still, here I am replying to your message. I'm not here to "eat my words", as you say. Nor will anyone else respond to do so. The reason is that, given the facts at hand, some of the above opinions were reasonable ones at the time. They may or may not turn out to be wrong (after all, the non-DRM content is not yet available), but that doesn't make them unreasonable, except in retrospect.

Yet here you are, shouting about how you were right and everyone else was wrong. All this demonstrates is that you may have been right this once, and the tone of your message seems to indicate an unhealthy trust in Apple. Do you also register as a Republican or a Democrat and vote for whichever it is, regardless of how idiotic the candidate happens to be this iteration (if you aren't American, rinse and repeat for whatever idiocy passes for politics in your corner of the world)? Do you think that every action Microsoft makes is evil, simply because it's Microsoft, and all of Google's actions are good because it's Google?

Do us a favor. Learn to think and get back when you're not such an arrogant ass.

Also, while you're at it (and just to poke some wounds): If Apple didn't want the DRM at all, then why is it that iTunes wasn't originally designed to distribute DRM and non-DRM music for those labels that didn't want DRM? Also, consider that, unlike the Indie labels, EMI has weight to throw around, and, if it wants DRM off its content, Apple is in a much worse position to argue with EMI than the Indie labels.

Confirmed! (5, Informative)

datafr0g (831498) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572005)

On EMI's website....

http://www.emigroup.com/Default.htm [emigroup.com]

DRM-free downloads: EMI Music launches DRM-free superior sound quality downloads. From 1pm London time there will be a live audio webcast of this announcement.

Press Release here: http://www.emigroup.com/Press/2007/press18.htm [emigroup.com]

Re:Confirmed! (1)

tommie_1138 (1083103) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572039)

EMI Group CEO Eric Nicoli today hosted a press conference at EMI's headquarters in London where he announced that EMI Music is launching DRM-free superior quality downloads across its entire digital repertoire and that Apple's iTunes Store will be the first online music store to sell EMI's new downloads. Nicoli was joined by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The event also featured a musical performance by The Good, The Bad & The Queen.

Re:Confirmed! (1)

terraformer (617565) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572045)

Well, what I really want to know is how about stuff I have already bought??? And yes, I know there are unofficial ways but I would rather see an official method.

30 (US/euro) cent upgrade (1)

ynotds (318243) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572097)

Which is exactly the difference between the price of the old fidelity DRM tracks and the new (higher) fidelity non-DRM tracks.

Re:Confirmed! (1)

datafr0g (831498) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572119)

$1.29 for DRM Free tracks,
$.99 for the normal DRM track
$.30 for the upgrade per song

Apparently the DRM tracks also are encoded at a higher quality.... seems odd that they'd offer DRM still, but it will be interesting to see how well they sell vs the cheaper DRM encoded tracks.

Re:Confirmed! (1)

cibyr (898667) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572329)

Still not lossless, and I can still torrent FLAC albums for free...

Re:Confirmed! (1)

supersat (639745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572113)

Sadly, these tracks are more expensive -- but they claim that they've increased the audio quality, so perhaps that's an acceptable trade-off. They're also allowing you to upgrade your existing purchases.

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.
Steve Jobs just announced that iTunes will start selling these tracks in May, at 256kbps AAC. He also explained how to circumvent the existing DRM with burning songs to a CD and re-ripping them. ;)

Re:Confirmed! (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572123)

I just hope they have some stuff I actually want to buy, but great news. I can now start buying some stuff and be sure the money is going to the right people. Yaaaaay!

Re:Confirmed! Superior quality and pricing (1)

swissfondue (819240) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572167)

Yes, instead of getting Apple to pay upfront, consumers will be asked to pay more for drm free music.

"DRM-free tracks at twice the sound quality or Standard sound quality tracks with DRM".

Pricing will be higher as well.

Press release says "entire digital repertoire" (3, Informative)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572023)

From the press release [emigroup.com] :

EMI Group CEO Eric Nicoli today hosted a press conference at EMI's headquarters in London where he announced that EMI Music is launching DRM-free superior quality downloads across its entire digital repertoire and that Apple's iTunes Store will be the first online music store to sell EMI's new downloads.
... therefore, not just parts of it.

Re:Press release says "entire digital repertoire" (1)

datafr0g (831498) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572399)

Too bad that their "entire digital repertoire" is not the same as their entire catalog.

Still no Beatles... yet...

Dear EMI (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572073)

So far, the only people I have bought MP3s from is allofmp3.com. The reason I don't buy it from anywhere else is DRM and fear that at some point, the system will stop me listening to it on some device or other.
Most albums I listen to I already have on LP, CD, special edition CD and every other variant you tempt me with.
If you remove the DRM, you can bet I'll start buying MP3s from your catalogue too. Hope that helps in your decision.

Without DRM everything is easier (1)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572101)

EMI's position was simple: if they sell music without DRM, then users will find [any verb] it that much easier.
[any verb] = listening to, backing up, sampling, mixing, making a compilation including, etc. But don't forget buying.

The catch... (1)

monsted (6709) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572149)

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.
Source: http://www.emigroup.com/Press/2007/press18.htm [emigroup.com]

Ah, i knew there was a catch. Mr. Jobs, i'd like to save those 30 cents and get the non-upgraded quality without DRM, thank you.

Re:The catch... (3, Insightful)

gsslay (807818) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572413)

Well thank goodness! With DRM (thankfully) dead, I was thinking for a moment there that people would have to start thinking up yet another excuse as to why pirating music was not only ok, but in fact a good thing.

But here's a ready made one! Let the file sharing and self-serving moral posturing continue!

Re:The catch... (1)

monsted (6709) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572521)

What are you going on about? I simply feel that the quality of the currently offered music is good enough and don't want to pay extra to get the non-DRM files. Bundling these two features is only an attempt to gouge us for more cash.

Of course, this is probably just an excuse for them to be able to tell everybody that noone really wants drm-free music, since they'll still sell more DRM-infected than DRM-free songs...

Re:The catch... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572667)

This also weakens iTunes DRM, which is a very smart move for Apple. Now you can buy the DRM'd tracks and think 'If I want to listen to them elsewhere, all I have to do is pay 20p/track and I can upgrade to the DRM-free versions.' Then, when you are next shopping for a portable music player, you mentally add on (number of iTunes DRM'd files * 20p) to the price of iPod competitors.

If you download some of EMI's non-DRMed music... (2, Funny)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572175)

.. could you send me a copy to try ;-)

Thats why i love EMI (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572257)

It has been 4-5 months or so. or maybe 7-8 i dont remember.

i bought an emi compilation of classic music titles, called "Best of Classics 100", and "Best of Classics 2" (100 again). each of them are 6 cd, total of 12 cd, classic music titles performed by renowned performers/orchestras.

came home, put these in my 6 cd changer pioneer set. set shuffle play and voila. play on sweet chariot.

when i am working, sitting, and even sometimes gaming, i play classical music. so it was on the air around 10-14 hours a day with only intermittent pauses.

but i advise against such incessant playing on a set that dates 1991 - as very soon you would find yourself in my situation - cd changer wont play at all. i dont know how much it would cost me to get it repaired.

i put the cds one by in my dvd rw at my pc. ripped them off one by one in high quality. all of them. with NO problems.

acquired an altec lansing fx 6021. i have a creative x-treme music sound card.

now im playing them incessantly through winamp. or whatever i wish. i made a list from my favorites among them, and its on constant shuffle.

i wouldnt have that convenience if there was DRM shit.

so i would like to thank the all people at EMI, who thought that selling music without DRM shit was a good idea.

thank you.

Re:Thats why i love EMI (1)

nikostheater (956769) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572447)

Well,i think that it is major news today. The other labels now must respond or else they lose.. And the whole thing is a major blow to Microsoft as well with the "Universal tax" in zune and the stupid drm restrictions in zune player... Hopefully the market will adjust to drm free high quality music in reasonable fee. Oh,i forgot..and without silly litiligation against mothers and dead poeple ans such. (please excuse my poor english).

Classical music (1)

swissfondue (819240) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572471)

I never bought classical music on iTunes due to the low (for classical music) AAC bit rate. In May, when I buy an entire album, I will be able to buy classical music at a higher quality encoding, drm-free and for the same price as today.

Yay!

The headline is already outdated (1)

Conanymous Award (597667) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572327)

EMI does now offer its entire catalog DRM-free (and in higher quality), first on iTunes.

This could boost iPod sales if it takes off... (1)

samalone (707709) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572401)

Since the new tracks without DRM are going to be encoded at twice the bitrate, only half as many songs will fit on your iPod. So if Apple's strategy becomes popular, this has the potential to drive the purchase of larger, more expensive iPods.

Of course, it could very well drive the purchase of larger players from other companies, too. But an awful lot of people are going to stick with the iPod brand and interface, and just look for more capacity.

Call me a music snob but.... (0, Troll)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572507)

There's also rumours of an Apple/Beatles announcement sometime today, perhaps tied into this drm decision.

...if you're too stupid to be able to rip Beatles songs from a CD yourself, or, indeed, you believe you can understand the full nuances of the Beatles music while listening to it through tinny (and tiny) headphones while you're on a gym treadmill, then my advice is stay away from their stuff altogether in the first place.

Stick to the "music for the masses" claptrap that infests the pop charts today - and you'll still be nice and fashionable with your iPod also...

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