Huzzah! Finally, one company has the guts to call the technorati’s bluff and offer higher quality, non-DRM’d music downloads through a major digital distributor. EMI has announced that they will offer all of their digital assets, via iTunes, as non-DRM’d AAC-format files at “twice the quality” of the DRM’d version. EMI’s press release doesn’t mention the detailed of the kbps size, but 256kbps seems likely.
The hitch? The files will cost more, $0.30 more. Now, not a huge bump and, as BoingBoing points out, could be a sneeky way to backdoor a price increase, but not a terribly huge increase. This is feeding into the geek cred of we’ll-pay-more-for-no-DRM line. The real test will be if the general consumer will do the same thing. In a world where cheaper often wins out over quality, it won’t be the stock-optioned Valley web head that decides this, it will be the average iTunes user; the one who now sees that $20 iTunes card worth 15 songs, not 20.
Hopefully we’ll huge sales on non-DRM’d Coldplay, Pink Floyd, the Stones, and Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds to validate this business move. I’ll be surprised, but here’s hoping.