EMI, Apple To Sell DRM-Free Music for $1.29/song

Update: MP3 file of the press call is here.

April 2, 2007: The day DRM died.

The surprise press conference in London today with today EMI CEO Eric Nicoli and Apple CEO Steve Jobs just started a few minutes ago (1 pm London time). As expected, the two companies are offering the availability of EMI’s digital catalog DRM-free on iTunes.

We’re listening to the press call via a live webcast (and so is CrunchGear). A PDF was also distributed with the slides below.

Our raw notes from the press call:

EMI will offer all songs from its digital catalog without DRM. Testing earlier this year suggested people prefer non-DRM to DRM tracks 10:1. iTunes is first partner.

These songs will no longer be tied to iTunes and the iPod – any device that plays AAC format will play these songs.

Songs will be encoded at 256kbps AAC (current is 128kbps) and sold at $1.29 per song, $0.30 more per song than the current price. These will be offered along side the existing lower quality, DRM tracks, and consumers can choose.

Entire album purchases will stay at the same price, but have the higher audio quality and will be DRM free.

EMI music videos will be available DRM free with no change in price.

Customers who purchased tracks previously can upgrade to DRM free tracks for $0.30 per track.

Jobs says they are trying to do similar deals with other labels, and expects that 50% of all of their tracks sold will be DRM free by end of year.

Steve Jobs says that they are offering people nothing more than what they get when they buy a cd directly and rip it.

Press release is here.

Slides From Press Call: