London, 2 April 2007 - EMI Music today announced that it is launching new premium downloads for retail on a global basis, making all of its digital repertoire available at a much higher sound quality than existing downloads and free of digital rights management (DRM) restrictions.
Eric Nicoli, CEO of EMI Group, said, "By providing DRM-free downloads, we aim to address the lack of interoperability which is frustrating for many music fans. We believe that offering consumers the opportunity to buy higher quality tracks and listen to them on the device or platform of their choice will boost sales of digital music."
In May, Apple's iTunes Store will be the first online retailer to offer EMI's catalogue in two formats: at standard audio quality with DRM, or, for a premium price, improved audio quality without DRM restrictions. Specific details are as follows:
- Standard tracks: 128kb/s AAC, DRM protection, locked into Apple players, $0.99/€0.99/Â£0.79
- Premium tracks: 256kb/s AAC, no DRM protection, interoperable with non-Apple players, $1.29/€1.29/Â£0.99
- Previously bought EMI tracks can be 'upgraded' to higher quality and DRM-free for $0.30/Â£0.15
- Albums: offered with the above premium features at the same price prior to the announcement.
- Music videos: also offered DRM-free.