Reactions to the Apple / EMI Announcement

Yesterday's joint announcement from Apple and EMI remains the big news. To recap:

- EMI's Music will be sold without Digital Rights Management restrictions through iTunes
- These new songs will be higher quality (256kbps) and sell for $1.29/song individually
- DRM-Restricted songs at the lower quality settings (128kbps) will still be sold for $.99
- Albums will be in the new higher quality/DRM-less format but remain at the same price.

A full transcript of the Q&A session from the announcement is now available.

Microsoft-Watch notes that the deal greatly impacts Microsoft in that they bet big on Digital Rights Manangement.

With the release of Windows Media 9, Microsoft made a huge bet on DRM. No question, Windows Media 9 delivered highly flexible rights management that could be used for lots of interesting marketing purposes, such as a label releasing a new album with, say, three free plays. But Microsoft's bet hasn't paid off in the market, even with so many music stores using Windows Media DRM.

PC Mag cites the response from the Norwegian Consumer Council, who had previously declared Apple's DRM restrictions to be illegal and tried to pass legistation to force open standards:

"No matter how the digital music market develops, today will always stand out [as] a very important date, the day when two of the really big market players finally took responsibility that follows from the position and made an interoperable solution available to consumers," said Torgeir Waterhouse, senior advisor to the Norwegian Consumer Council, in an email. "I applaud their move, and encourage all the other contenders in the digital music business to make the same important move."

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