Now That’s Good News

EMI announced this moring that they are going to start selling higher quality unprotected files in iTunes and also through their other online retail partners. iTunes will feature the EMI catalog in 256 kpbs unprotected AAC format. That’s fine with me. If I have to convert to mp3 to run on certain devices, I can do that. And I like getting higher quality for iTunes listening. These files will cost $1.29 per song and you can pay $0.30 per song to convert your existing fairplay EMI songs to this new format.

EMI also announced that they will offer their retail partners the opportunity to sell their music unprotected in AAC, MP3, or WMA formats presumably at this higher bitrate.

I am happy to pay more to get music in the format I want it in. The extra $0.30 seems to be a fair price to pay for the flexibility I’ve long wanted to put my music wherever I want to put it.

My big question is why Apple doesn’t offer this new format (256 kbps AAC unprotected) for all the music that is currently available in unprotected mp3 on eMusic and elsewhere? That would have the unfortunate effect of putting a huge dent in eMusic’s business.

But I won’t buy music online in a protected format. I don’t have to put up with that when I buy CDs and I refuse to put up with it online. iTunes is missing a big opportunity by keeping all its indie music in DRM format when they don’t have to.