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Removal of DRM Music Restriction Consumer Victory for Online Music Downloads

EMI has announced a move to non-DRM (Digital Rights Management) Music format. The first big music label change to freely transferable digital music may set a new trend and benefit consumers! EMI has agreed to provide online music download through iTunes without the use of digital rights management (DRM).

If you read our article titled Music Format Frustration you already know that DRM results in compatibility problems using various music players and download providers.

Beginning in May of 2007, EMI will release DRM-free music, encoded for a higher sound quality than current offerings, and selling on iTunes for $1.29 per track in the U.S.

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The most universally accepted music format is currently MP3. Apple will offer DRM-free music from EMI in 256-Kbp AAC encoding, which has higher sound quality than current downloads using 128-Kbp AAC encoding with DRM. This can somewhat justify the expected higher price per download.

Unfortunately for iPod users, 256K file sizes will be nearly twice the size of current 128K AAC files with DRM, which will use up valuable storage capacity. But, the trade off is that you will be getting higher quality sound! With iTunes accounting for roughly 70% of legal paid digital music downloads, AAC may even become a future standard for DRM-free music.

Currently, it's estimated that about 10% of digital-audio players support AAC. If you have a player that doesn't support AAC, you will probably need to obtain firmware patches for your music player to achieve compatibility. Firmware patches are simply software downloads which update your player. Usually, they are provided free of charge by Manufacturers.

"The Good, The Bad & The Queen" is the first EMI album available for download in DRM-free MP3 format. You can download it directly from www.thegoodthebadandthequeen.com

At this point, it's too early to determine if other music providers will follow the lead of EMI in removing the DRM requirement. Addressing DRM incompatibilities is one step in a positive direction for consumers wanting to legally download music, while still enjoying the flexibility to use whichever music software or music player they prefer!!

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