Beatles iPod getting closer?

Nearly two and a half years after my initial post, a Beatles iPod may not be that far off any more:

“The Beatles have settled a £30 million row over royalty payments with record company EMI, clearing the final obstacle to the release of the band’s entire back catalogue over the internet, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

Apple iPod: Beatles join the iPod revolution
Coming to an iPod near you?

Executives at the group’s company Apple Corps Ltd and EMI can now sit down and work out a new royalties deal to cover music downloads of their hit singles and albums by websites like iTunes.”

About time, I’d say. UK copyright is good for 50 years – if the Beatles don’t want to share Sir Cliff’s pain, they’d better make sure that product hits the market soon.

EMI: No more DRM

WHOAH!

“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.

The new higher quality DRM-free music will complement EMI’s existing range of standard DRM-protected downloads already available. From today, EMI’s retailers will be offered downloads of tracks and albums in the DRM-free audio format of their choice in a variety of bit rates up to CD quality. EMI is releasing the premium downloads in response to consumer demand for high fidelity digital music for use on home music systems, mobile phones and digital music players. EMI’s new DRM-free products will enable full interoperability of digital music across all devices and platforms.
[…]
Apple’s iTunes Store (www.itunes.com) is the first online music store to receive EMI’s new premium downloads. 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. Complete albums from EMI Music artists purchased on the iTunes Store will automatically be sold at the higher sound quality and DRM-free, with no change in the price. Consumers who have already purchased standard tracks or albums with DRM will be able to upgrade their digital music for $0.30/€0.30/£0.20 per track. All EMI music videos will also be available on the iTunes Store DRM-free with no change in price.

EMI is introducing a new wholesale price for premium single track downloads, while maintaining the existing wholesale price for complete albums. EMI expects that consumers will be able to purchase higher quality DRM-free downloads from a variety of digital music stores within the coming weeks, with each retailer choosing whether to sell downloads in AAC, WMA, MP3 or other unprotected formats of their choice. Music fans will be able to purchase higher quality DRM-free digital music for personal use, and listen to it on a wide range of digital music players and music-enabled phones.”

Click here to listen to the audio webcast from today’s announcement.
Click here to download the pdf presentation.

This rocks. Not only that, but it will get the ball rolling. The other players will have to answer to their customers saying “what about you”? In my opinion, this is a HUGE competitive advantage for EMI. I hope Apple provides assistance in showing how (if?) the numbers change in regard to non-DRM vs. DRM.

Exciting times.