At the special event in London on Monday, EMI Music announced that it is launching new premium downloads for retail on a global basis, making all of its digital music available at a much higher sound quality than existing downloads and free of digital rights management (DRM) restrictions and that Apple iTunes Store will be the first online retailer to offer legal, higher quality, DRM-free music.
Pricing will be US$1.29/Â£0.99/â‚¬1.29; however, iTunes will continue to offer consumers the ability to pay US$0.99/Â£0.79/â‚¬0.99 for standard sound quality tracks with DRM still applied.
Customers who have already purchased standard tracks or albums with DRM will be able to upgrade their digital music for US$0.30/Â£0.20/â‚¬0.30 per track. All EMI music videos will also be available on the iTunes Store DRM-free with no change in price.
The news follows Apple CEO Steve Jobs open letter in which he made his feelings known about the requirements of the big four music labels to protect the music iTunes sells with digital rights management. Speaking at a press conference in London today, Jobs said: â€œWe 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 yearâ€