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Monday, April 2, 2007

DRM-free music from EMI

Alright. I'm not a Steve Jobs fanboi. I'm just not. I love Apple's products; I hate Apple's pricing; I don't mind iTunes DRM because I use an iPod. But I get it. DRM sux0r and all that.

So it's a pretty big deal that EMI (one of the Big Four) is dropping DRM from all of their digital offerings. You know, just like when you buy a CD. It means a lot for digital content distribution. iTunes users can put their music on the Zune. Of course, Zune users can just buy it from the Zune store, but they'd have the option of putting on an iPod. You get the picture.

But the real reason this is a big deal has nothing to do with devices. It has nothing to do with El Jobso carefully dodging European litigation. It means that someone in the music industry, somewhere, has finally figured it out. Whether or not Steve had any effect on the eventual decision, EMI has finally agreed that the people who buy music online are more interested in paying for a product than pirating it:
Q: Is this a green light for piracy?
Eric: no, we take the view that we have to "trust consumers." Some will disappoint us. The idea is to give them the best music experience to grow sales and not diminish them.1
This is a big deal because someone, somewhere, finally got it right. Now we'll see if the rest falls into place.

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