Apple and EMI buddy up to release DRM free tracks

Breaking from the rest of the recording industry, EMI will begin selling songs online that are free of copy-protection technology through Apple iTunes Store.

ITunes customers will soon be able to buy songs by the Rolling Stones, Norah Jones, Coldplay and other top-selling artists for $US1.29, or US30c more than the copy-protected version. The premium tunes also will be offered in a higher quality than the US99c tracks.

EMI Chief Executive Eric Nicoli said The Beatles music catalogue was excluded from the deal, but said the company was “working on it”. He declined to set a time frame for negotiations over the catalogue.

The announcement followed calls by Apple chief executive Steve Jobs earlier this year for the world’s four major record companies, including EMI, to start selling songs online without copy-protection software.

The technology, known as digital rights management, or DRM, is designed to combat piracy by preventing unauthorised copying or sharing, but it also can be a consumer headache. Some music players, for instance, support one type of DRM software but not others. The DRM used by Apple does not work with competing services or devices, meaning that consumers can only download songs from iTunes to work on their computers or iPod music players.

The iTunes music store will begin offering EMI’s entire catalogue – apart from The Beatles – without DRM software starting next month.

Source: Australian IT

Related Links: EMI Music