The Wall Street Journal is reporting that EMI, a Big Four music label and RIAA member, will release “significant amounts of its catalogue” unencumbered by DRM. The announcement from EMI is expected at an 8 a.m. EST press conference in London, featuring Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Privately most labels rejected the idea out of hand, but EMI, the world’s third-largest music company by sales, was already quietly exploring the idea of dropping DRM. EMI has struggled to overcome poor results and a laggard digital strategy, potentially contributing to its willingness to take a bold stance on DRM.
EMI will make the DRM-free portions of its catalogue available for download via iTunes. We wonder how the RIAA will react. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER