Last week, various newspapers reported about Apple and EMI’s introduction of DRM-free music onto iTunes. From this site：
DRM-free tracks from EMI will be offered at higher quality 256 kbps AAC encoding, resulting in audio quality indistinguishable from the original recording, for just $1.29 per song. In addition, iTunes customers will be able to easily upgrade their entire library of all previously purchased EMI content to the higher quality DRM-free versions for just 30 cents a song. iTunes will continue to offer its entire catalog, currently over five million songs, in the same versions as today — 128 kbps AAC encoding with DRM — at the same price of 99 cents per song, alongside DRM-free higher quality versions when available.
For me, I want my music as high quality as possible. I must’ve been spoiled by my dad’s obession with HiFi systems, because I’m usually annoyed at any song file that sounds remotely low-fi’ed, leaving me to suffer at the hands of those who don’t know how to encode their songs from CDs. The only low-fi music that I can normally take is at a KTV bar, where music quality takes a lesser role behind the performer of the moment.
For others, I’m not quite sure this is the case. I don’t think the majority of listeners are actually bothered as much as I am, so the selling point for for them is….that’s right, feel free to pass it around! This is a business shift that EMI has taken, lowering the boundaries of music access to getting music available to more people out there. Nowadays, the “CD” revenue share has shrunk to become only one of several revenue streams for musicians and artists, and if taken as a single revenue source, makes it very difficult for an artist to survive. For EMI, making their artists more accessible hopefully transfers to more revenue. Only time will tell!