updated 08:35 am EST, Fri February 9, 2007
EMI Close to DRM-Free
EMI Group is on the verge of licensing its catalog without any copy protection, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Multiple anonymous sources have told the paper that EMI is currently asking for proposals from multiple online stores that would see the label receive an advance in exchange for the right to sell songs without DRM. A final decision is likely to depend on how enticing the offers themselves will be and could be made as soon as Friday, the sources said. EMI spokeswoman Jeanne Meyer declined to comment on speculation.
If completed, the deal would become a landmark decision in digital music, represnting the first time a major label released more than a handful of songs in MP3 or otherwise unguarded file formats. The potential also exists for a schism in the industry, as Warner Music's staunch opposition to the idea makes it unlikely that the entirety of the major labels will follow suit.
It's currently unclear as to what degree EMI's talks were affected by the open letter by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, which suggested that DRM-free music was the only true solution to interoperability between devices and music stores.