EMI Group will soon sell digital music with better sound quality and no digital rights management restrictions through Apple’s iTunes Store.
EMI’s entire digital music catalog will be available in premium DRM-free form via iTunes in May, the music label said Monday at a press conference in London. Beatles tunes under EMI’s control, however, are not part of the plan.
Higher-quality music files, which will play on any computer and any digital-audio player, will not replace the copy-protected EMI music currently sold through iTunes. Rather, they will complement the standard 99-cent iTunes downloads and will be sold at a premium: $1.29 per song.
Consumers who have already purchased EMI tracks containing Apple’s FairPlay copy protection will be able to upgrade them to the premium version for 30 cents, EMI said. Full albums in DRM-free form can be bought at the same price as standard iTunes albums.
“We are committed to embracing change, and to developing products and services that consumers really want to buy,” said Eric Nicoli, chief executive of EMI. Nicoli cited internal EMI tests in which higher-quality, DRM-free songs outsold its lower-quality, copy-protected counterparts 10-to-1.
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