Everyone in the world is already talking about it, but EMI and Apple have just announced that higher quality (256kbps AAC) DRM-free tracks of EMI’s catalog will be available for sale on the iTunes music store for a 30% premium.
This is huge news. As a consumer, I’m pretty happy about it. The existing iTMS offering has been sub-par (marginal bitrate, DRM encumbered) at a price that wasn’t quite attractive enough. As a result most of my music money has still been going for CDs. The improved product is much more attractive to me, at least when I’m only interested in one or two tracks.
I’ll be interested to see if the other labels follow suit on this. I imagine they’ll be happy at the chance to boost their average sales price for dowloadable music.
Update: The premium price only applies to single track purchases. Full album prices remain the same even without DRM and with a higher bit-rate. Sweet!