Yesterday, Apple announced that they would being offering songs on iTunes that will not have DRM (Digital Rights Management). Without DRM, songs can play on music players other than Apple’s and can be shared an unlimited number of times. EMI records, publishers of Kanye West and Good Charlotte, is the first company to offer the DRM-free music.
These songs will cost $1.29, rather than the traditional $.99, but they have doubled the quality of the song from 128 to 256 kbps. The album cost of $9.99 remains unchanged. Users are able to upgrade songs they already own for the $.30 difference.
Steve Jobs had said previously that he wanted to do away with DRM. It seems Jobs got his way. He expects other record companies to join EMI in this move, projecting that half of all iTunes offerings will be DRM-free by the end of the year.
It seems to be a win-win situation for everyone–Apple and record companies make more money on each song, Apple sells more songs to people who don’t own iPods, and users feel like they have gained freedom, not to mention high-quality tunes. I can’t see a downside, for Apple or for music lovers, with this maneuver. Can you?