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EMI May Remove DRM From Parts of Catalog 161

An anonymous reader writes "Ars Technica is reporting that EMI may announce on Monday that it will be freeing much of its catalog from the shackles of DRM. The Wall Street Journal, in a subscription-only portion of its site, is saying that that Apple CEO Steve Jobs will be present at the announcement in London and that the music will be sold through the iTunes Store and possibly other online outlets. In early February rumblings were heard that EMI was thinking about ditching DRM, but EMI was unable to entice the likes of Apple, Microsoft, and others. As it turned out, EMI wanted a considerable advance payment to offset what it perceived as a risk: selling DRM-free music online. EMI's position was simple: if they sell music without DRM, then users will find trading it that much easier." There's also rumours of an Apple/Beatles announcement sometime today, perhaps tied into this drm decision.
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EMI May Remove DRM From Parts of Catalog

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  • If this is true....Let's hope disney/pixar content is next ;-)

    (and the 'encryption' tag is wrong - encryption involves three parties & drm only two)
    • In the case of DRM the third party is the friend (an actual person or just another device) whom I actually want to let "eavesdrop" and get the information. But the music industry is making sure no third party can "steal" from us, whether we like it or not.
    • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @08:51AM (#18572267)

      As I write this, the BBC have a "breaking news" article that appears to confirm that EMI are dropping mandatory DRM [bbc.co.uk].

      Short version: you will be able to buy DRM-free files, which will cost you more, but will also be of higher quality. You will also be able to upgrade existing DRM'd music to the "premium" DRM-free format for a small fee.

    • by vought ( 160908 )
      It would seem EMI has made their entire catalog available DRM-free, according to Reuters:

      EMI and Apple Agree Anti - Piracy Software Deal
      By REUTERS
      Published: April 2, 2007
      Filed at 8:30 a.m. ET
      LONDON (Reuters) - EMI Group Plc (EMI.L) said on Monday it was making its music catalog available through Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) iTunes store without the anti-piracy measure known as digital rights management (DRM).

      ``The new higher quality DRM-free music will complement EMI's existing range of standard DRM-protected downloads already available,'' EMI said in a statement as the company began a joint press conference in central London with Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs.

  • by freedom_india ( 780002 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @07:36AM (#18571759) Homepage Journal
    All this removing DRM is fine, but if i download from iTunes, will i be able to drag-drop the same into a Rio?
    Or am i still locked into iTunes iPod combination?
    I own only an iPod, so i would not notice it even, but for some who own a Rio/some other music player, can i buy from iTunes, and then listen to it on Rio?
    If not, then iam moving from a closer jail to a bigger jail.
    • by Khakionion ( 544166 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @07:44AM (#18571819)
      "Or am i still locked into iTunes iPod combination?"

      DRM is what locks iTunes purchases to the iPod. If you buy non-DRM tracks, they will play on anything capable of reading that format. The iTunes Store sells AAC tracks, so chances are it will work with any modern music player.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MadJo ( 674225 )
        My modern iAudio U3 does not play AAC.
        But I can't run iTunes on my pc anyway (no linux client), so it doesn't matter much for me.
        • by FLEB ( 312391 )
          Yes, but now you can format-shift without technical hurdles and legal prohibitions.
          • by MadJo ( 674225 )
            and lose quality ;)
            • There is no loss of quality in moving from AAC to FLAC or raw audio :)

              True moving to mp3 will lose quality, but then how many people actually have a good enough pair of headphones on their ipod to be able to tell?
            • by Lars T. ( 470328 )
              Yeah, when you convert 256Kbps AAC to 64Kbps MP3, you are going to lose quality.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by soft_guy ( 534437 )
          Just when all doubted there would still be things for people like you to whine about, you've restored our faith in your ability to whine like a baby.

          Waaaahh! My MP3 player won't play AAC and there isn't iTunes for Linux (unless you use WINE). Waaaaaahh!
          • by MadJo ( 674225 )
            I wasn't whining... I was merely stating a few facts.
            Fact1: iAudio mediaplayers do not play AAC.
            Fact2: There is no (native) Linux client of iTunes.
        • It would play AAC (plus many more formats) if you ran Rockbox [rockbox.org] on it...
    • by Corporate Troll ( 537873 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @07:50AM (#18571849) Homepage Journal
      If your Rio supports m4a files (assuming the non DRM will be AAC) and presents itself as a disk drive to your operating system, then the answer is yes. Right now you can just select and drag songs in iTunes to any folder and it will simply copy the files. It even does this with protected files. It's a useful feature for backing up.
      • Or, alternatively, you can just click the files and convert them to MP3. That was always a nice feature in iTunes but it never worked with protected files (for obvious reasons).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jonbryce ( 703250 )
      You may need to transcode it into a format the Rio supports, but without the DRM, that won't be a problem other than either a slight loss of quality or a much larger file size.
    • Open (Score:3, Insightful)

      by simpl3x ( 238301 )
      As they've publicly announced, this will hopefully dispel all of the statements that Jobs was full of it and playing games with his opinion piece. Since I have never purchased anything from the iTMS, I have no copy protection. I've loaded files on a Nokia N880 and they play, so they should play on the Rio if AAC is supported.

      As you can export any of your non-DRM music from iTunes, any jail cell you inhabit is of your own making. Apparently, here on /. your not alone in that cell however.
      • by Lars T. ( 470328 )

        As they've publicly announced, this will hopefully dispel all of the statements that Jobs was full of it and playing games with his opinion piece.
        Well, now they will say: "This only proves that EMI forced Jobs to drop DRM."
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The DRM free music will not just be for iTunes, so they won't just be in AAC. So all players benefit, just not from iTunes which will probably still sell in AAC.

      Read about it here:
      EMI's press release [emigroup.com]

      I wonder if indie labels will also be able to sell non-DRM'd tracks on iTunes now.
  • by HugePedlar ( 900427 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @07:37AM (#18571771) Homepage
    EMI's share price has been plummeting for months. My guess is they're desperate to try anything. Hopefully the risk will pay off, but if the share price continues to fall, it won't look encouraging for other record companies. As of this morning they're only up half a percent.
    • EMI's share price has been plummeting for months. My guess is they're desperate to try anything.
      I tell you it was all a frame, they only did it 'cos of fame - who? EMI.
    • "EMI... Good-bye"
    • Bad for them, good for us. If this works from the industry's standpoint - and right now, there's no telling whether it will or not - then that should open the door for the other labels.

      Note that there's a very big "if" followed by a medium sized "should" here, so there's no telling what might happen. But if the music industry is shown (because they won't see for themselves) that DRM is bad for business, then and only then will they do the right thing.
    • by MadJo ( 674225 )
      perhaps EMI should try a little 'bum rushing the charts'? :)
    • Hopefully the risk will pay off, but if the share price continues to fall, it won't look encouraging for other record companies.

      The jury is still out. There are too many unknowns. Will the price still be about a buck a track or something like 3 bucks a track? Will it be only 128K bitrate? Will it be in MP3 so it will play on non-AAC player? In short, will they raise the value enough to a big enough market to increase sales more than just a couple points? Will the new tracks kill sales from the sneaker
      • by Eccles ( 932 )
        $1.29/track. 256K AAC encoding. Starting in May. These are known unknowns, RTFA. They'll even still sell the DRM'ed, lower encoding rate ones so you can choose.
    • The shares won't move until some results are in. If this increases EMI's download sales (as I suspect it will), then it'll likely spread to other companies.

      Remember, if Apple doesn't have the costs associated with DRM, so they're probably giving EMI a larger cut on the non-DRM sales. Add in the $.30 premium, and their margin might be almost 30-50% higher than on non-DRM sales. And probably *much* larger margins than CD sales.

      The most fundamental problem for the labels remains the fact that their ability
  • Who thought they meant electromagnetic interference?
  • I'd consider paying for and downloading DRM-free music, but it sounds pretty risky to me. I know, CDs have no DRM, but we're talking about unprotected digital files here. I think I'm going to need a considerable downpayment to offset the risks, say in the order of a few million US dollars. Anyone else feel they need a downpayment before risking a download? Sounds like Apple's wallet's open.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cyclop ( 780354 )
      Yes but CDs become digital files so easily and so often today that the division between the two realms is pretty much senseless.
      • Ah... CDs are a collection of a specialized raw format of 44100Hz, 16 bit, stereo PCM file, with error correction built into the physical transport layer.

        They are a media for transporting digital information; not only is the separation senseless, it's imaginary. If you buy a CD, you've bought eight-to-fourteen digital files.
    • I'd consider paying for and downloading DRM-free music, but it sounds pretty risky to me.

      I have ready access to all the games I could want thanks to a friend I know who's a very big pirate. I also know about GameCopyWorld [gamecopyworld.com].

      However, I still buy games. I don't pirate them. (Then I use the stuff at GameCopyWorld to allow them to be played without the original CD, but that's because I have small kids all over the place and I keep those valuable archival media on a high shelf.) Similarly, I buy CDs and rip th

  • However, it sounds like they are still tentative. The dumb thing is, DRM does much more for Apple than it does for EMI. Basically, they've created a group of consumers who are locked into continuing to use Apple's Store. This increases Apple's power and bargaining position. If they were smart, they'd remove DRM ASAP, so consumers could eventually have choice about where to buy music.. which would make the stores compete for the business of EMI. Oh well, I think they're too blind to realize this, so the
    • Basically, they've created a group of consumers who are locked into continuing to use Apple's Store.

      Nah, it doesn't lock them into the store. There's nothing to stop iTS customers buying from elsewhere. It locks customers into buying Apple hardware (iPods), which is far more lucrative.

    • I've just received the press release from Apple about this. Starting in May, they will be offering EMI tracks on the UK store at 256Kb/s AAC with no DRM for 99p. This is in contrast to other music which will remain 79p for 128Kb/s DRM'd AAC. Strangely, none of the indie labels (who already sell DRM-free downloads) appear to be on board.

      I'll probably have a look and buy a couple of albums to encourage this kind of thing. 256Kb/s AAC is pretty good, and DRM free is excellent. Now all they have to do i

  • And MP3??? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    What about MP3, getting rid of the DRM makes it easier to put on my MP3 player but I'd still rather just buy the damn MP3 VBR format to start with.

    I have to say I'm suspicious, I just want to buy the music, I don't want to sign up to a store that may or may not have DRM'd music, I just want to buy a track and know it will be mp3 vbr, with no nasty surprises, and no complicated EULA, and no BITE ME IN THE ASS drm.

    Am I asking too much? I have money, real money with no EULA to sign before you take it, it is yo
    • It will very likely be in AAC format. This isn't bad, per se, as many mp3 players support AAC very well (though, they ALL support mp3).

      Also, AAC transcodes at very low loss to MP3, if you're using the right software.
      • This isn't bad, per se, as many mp3 players support AAC very well

        From what I have seen, there are more players that play MP3 and WMA than there are players that play MP3 and AAC (Not counting the sheer volume of iPods) If the reason to drop DRM is to expand the market to the population not owning iPods, keeping the AAC format will limit expansion to the segment that has AAC players instead of the segment that have MP3 or MP3 & WMA players.

        I have an MP3 / WMA player and it does not play any DRM format.
    • Why on earth would you want MP3? The sound quality is lower, and even a cheap mobile phone can play AAC these days, let along a dedicated player. I can understand complaining that AAC is too low quality and wanting something like FLAC, but wanting to ditch AAC in favour of MP3 is just silly (both are equally patent encumbered, by the way).
    • So shop at Allofmp3 already like the smart people do. Great selection, your choice of format and bit-rate, and no bullcrap EULAs.

    • eMusic? Almost all of their stuff is VBR MP3, no DRM.

      The only stuff that is not VBR are tracks that are already lo-fi, like stuff from old 78's, etc..

      But no DRM, no gimmicks. And as long as you have an account with them, you can re-download anything you already downloaded, for free.

      All for about 25% of the cost of buying from Apple...

  • Go Buy!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Martian of Death ( 1081485 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @07:49AM (#18571845)
    If they do announce this, I will go to the iTunes store and buy $50 worth of EMI music this evening. The only way other companies will follow suit is if Apple is telling them that EMI is selling more songs after DRM is removed.
  • by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @07:53AM (#18571855)
    The idea that Apple would sell non-DRMed music is laughable. DRM is what keeps the iTunes locked to iPods, and iPods locked to iTunes. It isn't like Apple has been begging other companies to let them strip the DRM from their products. On the contrary, indie labels that use iTunes have been begging Apple for years to let them sell their music DRM free and Apple has shown absolutely no interest in doing so.

    Personally, I call April Fools. The day Apple doesn't try and tie hardware, software, and content all together is the day hell freezes over. If Apple really wanted to strip DRM from some of their music, they would have already done so for the labels that are begging for it.
    • The idea that Apple would sell non-DRMed music is laughable.

      Not really. Apple makes money selling iPods. They run their music sales business as break even as a way to sell more iPods. Unlike the computer market, where hardware is a commodity and Apple's differentiator is software, music is a commodity. I think last time I looked only 15% of iPods had any music from the iTMS on it, with the rest coming from CD rips and filesharing. Further, Apple advises all users to back up purchases onto non-DRMed CDs right after they are purchased. So the only "lock-in" is the s

  • then I have no doubt that "parts of it's catalog" means they may be testing it on a few select artists that may or may not even be popular.
    • by init100 ( 915886 )

      And you were wrong. EMI will make their entire catalogue available without DRM, albeit at a slightly higher price, but also with the bitrate doubled.

  • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Monday April 02, 2007 @08:18AM (#18571993)
    To all the people who thought Jobs' statement was PR bullshit to deflect criticism and that it "never really intended" to remove any DRM from any of its tracks, will you now go back and eat your words [slashdot.org]?

    All the folks who erroneously expected/thought that Apple should have been able to do this in "2-3 days, tops" on a massive service and infrastructure like iTunes, will you now go back and eat your words?

    To all of the people who think Apple can just "flip a switch" for indies, utterly ignoring the fact that there may be other binding legal or contract obligations that need to be ironed out, will you now go back and eat your words?

    For the people who ignorantly don't realize that there is a massive support operation behind iTunes, and Apple doesn't want to break things or confuse customers, and wanted to do it right, and wanted to force the labels' hands such that a big one would jump first, will you now go back and eat your words?

    I'm willing to wait at least for the official announcement, but since Reuters and the WSJ have already independently reported this, all you naysayers who kept on saying this was just a big PR conspiracy by Apple and they really were oh-so-in-love with DRM and iTunes/iPod lock-in that they'd never remove DRM, you're welcome to use this thread for your apologies.

    This, if all the reports really are true (and no, it isn't the result of an April Fool's joke for anyone who still thinks it is), represents the biggest shift in online media since online media itself: the biggest online store, actively willing to sell content without DRM, proving that Apple isn't interested in DRM and did only apply it because of studio demands.

    And then, pragmatically getting ALL of the major studios onboard into online sales, working in countless countries and jurisdictions with different legal systems, doing something that no other company had done before, and just biding its time and dropping the no-DRM bombshell in the form of Jobs' statement.

    I know people probably won't thank Apple for this, especially the folks who love to hate Apple. But for all of the people who ask "what Apple ever does", or "how do they innovate", here's yet another answer.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ady1 ( 873490 )
      No but we can lick the monitor a bit.
    • I'd eat all that, if it were a burger or something. :)
    • by FLEB ( 312391 )
      But for all of the people who ask "what Apple ever does", or "how do they innovate", here's yet another answer.

      Where is that other answer? Missed that. Apple started making noise just ahead of the popular-opinion wave hitting, and the press that can't see past the blinding Apple glare hyped it up as the next, first, and only time DRMless media had ever been proposed.

      I'll still be sticking with the services that never had DRM in the first place. I'm not about to give anyone a standing ovation just because th
      • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Monday April 02, 2007 @08:55AM (#18572317)
        Please direct me to the other major label music or media stores legally selling major label content online without DRM.


        (Believe it or not, some people want major label content.)

        And the restrictions are there because they needed to be. Apple is now using its power and clout to slowly remove them, because DRM is worthless for all the reasons we already knew, including the reasons Jobs, in his statement, articulated. If EMI was teetering, Jobs statement pushed them over the edge.

        Like all things Apple does, no, they weren't "the first" and may not have "invented" said concept, but, as usual, they're the first to do it right, do it with tools (or content) people actually use, and do it en masse. Like it or not, this is huge, and just like all of the other things Apple didn't invent but actually took mass-market and made easy to use, like the mouse, the GUI, desktop publishing (LaserWriter), 802.11 (AirPort), a usable online music/media store (iTunes), etc. and so on, this will stand as a major shift in online media.

        No, Apple isn't some kind of savior. But give credit where credit's due.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by swissfondue ( 819240 )
          Michael Gartenberg [jupiterresearch.com] is giving the credit where it is due: "It is a good step forward for consumers but more importantly, it showed Apple at the forefront of acting as "champion" for consumer interests. After all, it wasn't Rob Glaser or Bill Gates up there with EMI. "
  • Confirmed! (Score:5, Informative)

    by datafr0g ( 831498 ) * <(datafrog) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday April 02, 2007 @08:21AM (#18572005) Homepage
    On EMI's website....

    http://www.emigroup.com/Default.htm [emigroup.com]

    DRM-free downloads: EMI Music launches DRM-free superior sound quality downloads. From 1pm London time there will be a live audio webcast of this announcement.

    Press Release here: http://www.emigroup.com/Press/2007/press18.htm [emigroup.com]
    • Well, what I really want to know is how about stuff I have already bought??? And yes, I know there are unofficial ways but I would rather see an official method.
      • Which is exactly the difference between the price of the old fidelity DRM tracks and the new (higher) fidelity non-DRM tracks.
      • $1.29 for DRM Free tracks,
        $.99 for the normal DRM track
        $.30 for the upgrade per song

        Apparently the DRM tracks also are encoded at a higher quality.... seems odd that they'd offer DRM still, but it will be interesting to see how well they sell vs the cheaper DRM encoded tracks.
    • Sadly, these tracks are more expensive -- but they claim that they've increased the audio quality, so perhaps that's an acceptable trade-off. They're also allowing you to upgrade your existing purchases.

      Apple has announced that iTunes will make individual AAC format tracks available from EMI artists at twice the sound quality of existing downloads, with their DRM removed, at a price of $1.29/1.29/£0.99. iTunes will continue to offer consumers the ability to pay $0.99/0.99/£0.79 for standard sou

    • I just hope they have some stuff I actually want to buy, but great news. I can now start buying some stuff and be sure the money is going to the right people. Yaaaaay!
    • Yes, instead of getting Apple to pay upfront, consumers will be asked to pay more for drm free music.

      "DRM-free tracks at twice the sound quality or Standard sound quality tracks with DRM".

      Pricing will be higher as well.

  • From the press release [emigroup.com]:

    EMI Group CEO Eric Nicoli today hosted a press conference at EMI's headquarters in London where he announced that EMI Music is launching DRM-free superior quality downloads across its entire digital repertoire and that Apple's iTunes Store will be the first online music store to sell EMI's new downloads.
    ... therefore, not just parts of it.
    • Too bad that their "entire digital repertoire" is not the same as their entire catalog.

      Still no Beatles... yet...
  • So far, the only people I have bought MP3s from is allofmp3.com. The reason I don't buy it from anywhere else is DRM and fear that at some point, the system will stop me listening to it on some device or other.
    Most albums I listen to I already have on LP, CD, special edition CD and every other variant you tempt me with.
    If you remove the DRM, you can bet I'll start buying MP3s from your catalogue too. Hope that helps in your decision.
  • EMI's position was simple: if they sell music without DRM, then users will find [any verb] it that much easier.
    [any verb] = listening to, backing up, sampling, mixing, making a compilation including, etc. But don't forget buying.
  • Apple has announced that iTunes will make individual AAC format tracks available from EMI artists at twice the sound quality of existing downloads, with their DRM removed, at a price of $1.29/1.29/£0.99. iTunes will continue to offer consumers the ability to pay $0.99/0.99/£0.79 for standard sound quality tracks with DRM still applied.

    Source: http://www.emigroup.com/Press/2007/press18.htm [emigroup.com]

    Ah, i knew there was a catch. Mr. Jobs, i'd like to save those 30 cents and get the non-upgraded quality without DRM, thank you.

    • Re:The catch... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gsslay ( 807818 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @09:08AM (#18572413)
      Well thank goodness! With DRM (thankfully) dead, I was thinking for a moment there that people would have to start thinking up yet another excuse as to why pirating music was not only ok, but in fact a good thing.

      But here's a ready made one! Let the file sharing and self-serving moral posturing continue!
      • by monsted ( 6709 )
        What are you going on about? I simply feel that the quality of the currently offered music is good enough and don't want to pay extra to get the non-DRM files. Bundling these two features is only an attempt to gouge us for more cash.

        Of course, this is probably just an excuse for them to be able to tell everybody that noone really wants drm-free music, since they'll still sell more DRM-infected than DRM-free songs...

        • This also weakens iTunes DRM, which is a very smart move for Apple. Now you can buy the DRM'd tracks and think 'If I want to listen to them elsewhere, all I have to do is pay 20p/track and I can upgrade to the DRM-free versions.' Then, when you are next shopping for a portable music player, you mentally add on (number of iTunes DRM'd files * 20p) to the price of iPod competitors.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )
        Oh don't worry, there's plenty to choose from. E.g. why don't they sell it at the price of allofmp3 (which pays bandwidth and the rest being pure profit), why can't I get it in FLAC/OGG/whatever obscure format, it's still feeding the RIAA money which sues preteens and kills puppies and so on.

        With danger of invoking Godwin's law, everyone from Hitler to Hannibal Lector have been able to justify their own actions to themselves. Anything from general anti-megacorporations to whatever will do "All the big corps
    • by escay ( 923320 )
      what would be more interesting is that if artists now decide to switch sides and sign new contracts with EMI - more people would be ready to buy non-DRMed music so this would be a good way for the artists to reach more audience, besides gathering some good cred along the way for supporting non-DRM.

      It would also make the other big music companies sit up and take notice, when they suddenly start losing their golden-egg laying geese.

  • by clickety6 ( 141178 ) on Monday April 02, 2007 @08:39AM (#18572175)
    .. could you send me a copy to try ;-)

  • It has been 4-5 months or so. or maybe 7-8 i dont remember.

    i bought an emi compilation of classic music titles, called "Best of Classics 100", and "Best of Classics 2" (100 again). each of them are 6 cd, total of 12 cd, classic music titles performed by renowned performers/orchestras.

    came home, put these in my 6 cd changer pioneer set. set shuffle play and voila. play on sweet chariot.

    when i am working, sitting, and even sometimes gaming, i play classical music. so it was on the air around 10-14 ho
    • I never bought classical music on iTunes due to the low (for classical music) AAC bit rate. In May, when I buy an entire album, I will be able to buy classical music at a higher quality encoding, drm-free and for the same price as today.

  • EMI does now offer its entire catalog DRM-free (and in higher quality), first on iTunes.
  • wow, next time I visit the US I'm bringing a big suitcase full of these MP3 things so I can sell them in Great Britain.

    with their DRM removed, at a price of $1.29/1.29/£0.99. [emigroup.com] .

    • This is excellent news! I love that they are offering the option to upgrade any previously purchased songs to the 256 kbps DRM free version for 30 cents a track. I plan upgrading all of my tracks as soon as they are available. While I think that $1.29 is a little bit high for a track without DRM (I'd like to see them for the same price as the version with DRM), it's reasonable enough for me. You get twice the quality and no DRM for 30 cents more a track.

      It also appears as if deals with other studios are i

  • Please note that the price is still the SAME for albums, but you will get drm-free 256 bit encoded AAC tracks as of May.

    This is also a push to help sell albums (which become even cheaper in comparison to individual drm-free tracks). This is inline with the recent iTunes Store "upgrade to album" offer.

    USD 1.29 x 12 songs = USD 15.46 as compared to an album price of USD 9.99.

    So if I buy 8 songs from an album, it is cheaper to buy the album. This compares to 10 individual tracks from the same album under previous pricing.

  • The EU countries that have been after Apple about interoperability will now have to take his argument seriously that DRM is not his desire as he will now sell DRM free tracks that are not locked at all. He can blame the locking on the record companies. If Push comes to shove he can go EMI only in countries that force interoperability.

    I have to think negotiations for this were already underway with EMI when he wrote his open letter previously.

    I may have to look into what they have to offer for the first time

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