EMI and Apple Give the People What They Want (Finally)

Recently we have been distressed by a barrage of lawsuits against technology companies for merely allowing consumers to make flexible use of their lawfully acquired content.  And a spate of suits filed directly against thousands of consumers has further muddied the digital waters with conflict over content.  With EMI’s decision to sell DRM-free music, we see a major music company trying a different tactic: instead of declaring war on its customers, EMI is giving them what they want.

The demands of digital music fans are quite reasonable -- they simply want to enjoy their lawfully acquired content at the time, place, and on the device they choose.   These are the same rights advocated by the Digital Freedom campaign, which includes innovators, public interest groups, and over 150 independent bands and record labels. It is a safe bet that removing a major source of frustration for digital music fans will incentivize them to buy more music.  And the fact that the music format will be twice the previous audio quality is an added sweetener for consumers.  The EMI-Apple announcement represents the triumph of common sense.  We can only hope that this strategy will rapidly be emulated by EMI's counterparts.