This big news, as reported by Mac Rumours, is:
- EMI’s Music will be sold without Digital Rights Management restrictions through iTunes
- These new songs will be higher quality (256kbps) and sell for $1.29/song individually
- DRM-Restricted songs at the lower quality settings (128kbps) will still be sold for $.99
- Albums will be in the new higher quality/DRM-less format but remain at the same price.
Great stuff! If there’s one thing which has made me reluctant to buy from Apple’s iTunes Music Store, it’s the low bitrate in which they provide the tracks. The record companies deliberately restricted the bitrate because they felt it would drive people to “upgrade” to a CD, which naturally is at a much higher quality than a 128kbps file. Instead of driving people to buying CDs, it drove them to download the music illegally instead – as the physical products are poorly distributed, with music available in only a few shops with limited opening hours, whereas downloads can happen on any connected device at any time! However, now that music will be available at 256kbps and in AAC format, it is the equivalent sound quality to CD – my prediction is legal downloads will skyrocket.
The CD is dead, long live Apple! Must go, I’m off to buy Blur’s “Best Of” in high quality AAC format!