Apple/EMI Press Conference Coverage [Event Over]

Apple and EMI will be holding a joint press conference at 1pm London time, 8am EDT, to discuss "an exciting new digital offering."

Late last week, a MacRumors source indicated that the event would revolve around the removal of Digital Rights Management (DRM) from EMI tracks in the iTunes store. Unverifiable at the time, we did not publish the information until yesterday, which has since been echoed from the Wall Street Journal.

We will update this story periodically throughout the event as new information becomes available.

Audio Webcast

Confirmed: DRM-free Music: MacRumors user stomer has found slides from further in the webcast that confirm that the announcement will revolve around "DRM-free tracks at twice the sound quality."

Slide5 300

EMI Press Release
Apple Press Release

Updates (Time is EDT, Chronological Order)
- 7:53am Audio Feed has become available
- 8:02 Music playing over audio feed now
- 8:06 Greetings...
- 8:09 Going to have to be patient a bit longer... live performances first.
- 8:10 Performance by The Good, The Bad, and The Queen
- 8:23 We are focused on giving the consumers a truly compelling experience
- 8:24 Our research indicates that consumers are willing to pay a higher price in order to play their music on any player.
- 8:24 Announcing premium downloads. Free from DRM, and higher sound quality.
- 8:25 Upgrade ability as well.
- From press release: $1.29 for premium tracks (DRM-less), $.99 for standard (DRM), and $.30 for upgrade
- 8:28 Steve takes stage.
- 8:29 "Next stage in the digital music revolution"
- 8:31 Premium tracks will be 256 kbps AAC
- 8:32 Available next month (May)
- From press release: All EMI music videos will also be available on the iTunes Store DRM-free with no change in price.
- 8:35 End of formal conference, begin of Q/A

- Q: When are the Beatles coming?
- A: Don't know yet.

- Q: You mentioned 2.5 million tracks available by year end... obviously that isn't just EMI...
- A: (Steve) Yes... that is our projection for other labels coming on board as well.

- Q: Now that the link between iTunes/iPod is broken, do you expect a decline in iPod sales?
- A: (Steve) I don't see a link, because you have always been able to buy music from elsewhere (CD's) and put it on your iPod. We're going to keep working to do the best job at what we do, and we are going to hope that consumers agree.

- Q: What's the point on keeping DRM on standard tracks?
- A: (Steve) We don't want to force-raise the price on anyone.

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