EMI Releases First Album With DRM-Free Option; Artists Selling Direct from Site

The role of Steve Jobs and iTunes in EMI’s announcement Monday that it would offer DRM-free versions of its digital library may have given people the wrong impression about what the label actually is doing. This is not an Apple-centric deal as the first announcement of a DRM-free album illustrated: today’s DRM-free release of the first EMI album in the new format — The Good, The Bad & The Queen — is available now for direct download from the band’s own site in 320kbps MP3 format for 99p per single and GBP7.99 for the album. (Memo to anyone who knows the people running the site: it’s way too clunky for words; I have at least four open windows now.) Each retailer will be able to choose the format it prefers to offer DRM-free. For instance, iTunes will sell 256kbps AAC.
— It’s also not a switch to DRM-free — it’s an added option. EMI isn’t doing with DRM; it’s offering a higher-cost alternative. That’s not to be sneezed at, mind you, but this isn’t the Berlin Wall coming down.
The Guardian‘s Jack Schofield has more thoughts along these lines.
EMI Drops DRM For New Premium Line-Up, Higher Price; Apple First