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EMI forgoes anti-piracy software to boost sales

EMI Group has become the first major music label to offer digital music tracks without anti-piracy software. EMI announced that it will offer its entire digital music catalog on Apple Inc.’s iTunes Store without digital rights management software. The label’s entire catalog will also be available DRM-free on all other online music retailers.
The move is sure to be received warmly by many in the wireless industry as the backlash against DRM widens. Some argue that DRM is hindering digital music sales in mobile by locking specific songs to specific devices.
Just months after penning an open letter chastising music executives for the continued reliance on DRM, Apple CEO Steve Jobs hailed the move as “the next big step in the digital music revolution.” But as with all “revolutions,” it comes at a greater price to those who stand to benefit.
The new tracks, which will offer higher audio quality, will cost $1.29 a song vs. the DRM tracks that will continue to go for 99 cents. Customers who already own DRM tracks will be able to upgrade their collection for 30 cents a track.
Many music publishers are still adamantly opposed to embracing DRM-free music, but with CD sales continuing to plummet, some believe the industry eventually will be forced to drop its protectionist slant and earn its keep by appeasing music fans and consumers who pay for music and expect that it can be played on any device.
Jobs said Apple will reach out to all major and independent labels to follow suit. He expects half of the 5 million tracks on iTunes to be available without DRM by the end of the year.
The Beatles continue to be one group that remains absent from the iTunes Store. The band’s catalog has never been available to download legally.

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