Wow, I thought maybe DefectiveByDesign might have picked up an April Fool’s joke from yesterday, but I saw it for myself at the official Apple site:

Apple Unveils Higher Quality DRM-Free Music on the iTunes Store

DRM-Free Songs from EMI Available on iTunes for $1.29 in May

And the article is dated, April 2, 2007!!

From the article on Apple’s website:

CUPERTINO, California—April 2, 2007—Apple® today announced that EMI Music’s entire digital catalog of music will be available for purchase DRM-free (without digital rights management) from the iTunes® Store (www.itunes.com) worldwide in May. DRM-free tracks from EMI will be offered at higher quality 256 kbps AAC encoding, resulting in audio quality indistinguishable from the original recording, for just $1.29 per song. In addition, iTunes customers will be able to easily upgrade their entire library of all previously purchased EMI content to the higher quality DRM-free versions for just 30 cents a song. iTunes will continue to offer its entire catalog, currently over five million songs, in the same versions as today—128 kbps AAC encoding with DRM—at the same price of 99 cents per song, alongside DRM-free higher quality versions when available.

“We are going to give iTunes customers a choice—the current versions of our songs for the same 99 cent price, or new DRM-free versions of the same songs with even higher audio quality and the security of interoperability for just 30 cents more,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We think our customers are going to love this, and we expect to offer more than half of the songs on iTunes in DRM-free versions by the end of this year.”

Much more in the article!

Wow! Looks like Steve Jobs came through!

If this is true, I think the Apple iTunes Music Store just gained a new customer … ME!

EDIT: It’s all over the news! This is wonderful news for music lovers everywhere!

My boycott of Big Labels, at least of EMI, may be able to be put aside! 😀 I am not dancing in the streets yet, but I am definitely going to be watching to see if this really comes through as Steve Jobs has stated. If it does, THANK YOU STEVE JOBS for an exceptional job.

Apple, EMI offer higher-quality DRM free downloads (Playlist)

When Jobs proposed removing DRM from songs in an open letter earlier this year, many people thought that Apple had too much to lose. As the number one maker of digital music players and having the number one online store, removing DRM would mean that people could purchase music from iTunes and play it on any device.

“Hopefully, by our actions here today and over the coming months they will conclude that we are continuing to do exactly what has earned us these number one positions — doing the right thing for the customer,” said Jobs. “The right thing for the customer going forward is to tear down the walls that preclude interoperability by going DRM free. That starts here today.”

DRM’s demise just the beginning (MacWorld)

Don’t kid yourself: as exciting as it is that high-quality, DRM-free tracks will be available at the iTunes Store in May, all this really does is level the playing field between iTunes and brick-and-mortar retailers. As Steve Jobs himself pointed out, 90% of the music sold today (read: every piece of music sold on CD) is sold in high-quality audio with no digital rights management. The iTunes Store is, in essence, finally giving us what we’ve been always able to buy on CD, just easier and more quickly. In other words, the future is finally catching up with the past.

I agree Dan Moren! And I thank you for stating it!

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