Apple's iTunes Store (www.itunes.com) is the first online music store to receive EMI's new premium downloads. Apple has announced that iTunes will make individual AAC format tracks available from EMI artists at twice the sound quality of existing downloads, with their DRM removed, at a price of $1.29/€1.29/£0.99. iTunes will continue to offer consumers the ability to pay $0.99/€0.99/£0.79 for standard sound quality tracks with DRM still applied. Complete albums from EMI Music artists purchased on the iTunes Store will automatically be sold at the higher sound quality and DRM-free, with no change in the price. Consumers who have already purchased standard tracks or albums with DRM will be able to upgrade their digital music for $0.30/€0.30/£0.20 per track. All EMI music videos will also be available on the iTunes Store DRM-free with no change in price.This is a step in the right direction, and you should expect to see other majors scrambling to catch up now that one of their own has broken from the fold. I'm looking at you, Edgar.
EMI announced today that they will be making their entire catalog that's already available online (The Beatles being a notable exception) available WITHOUT DRM. It's not a total victory because for the time being, iTunes will have a per-track price premium for the unprotected songs, presumably to be justified by the higher sound quality accompanying the DRM-free files (full albums will automatically be sold without DRM):