Music industry heavy weight EMI has announced that it will allow the download of their music catalog online without Digital Rights Management attached to the files.
DRM was released with the intention it would curb digital media piracy. Unfortunately, implementing DRM in a manner that worked well for the consumer seemed to be a constant thorn in the side of the media publishers as the consumers pushed back against the use of digital rights management.
Users would download music encrypted using DRM technology and would then not be able to transfer the song from one media device to another, such as from a computer to an MP3 player. If you could move or transfer the file, there was a limited number of transfers available. This problem was circumvented if you were downloading from the Apple iTunes store, as it would allow syncing of the downloaded songs onto associated Apple devices.
As expected, Apple will be the first retailer to sell the newly released DRM free media through the iTunes store at a slightly higher price than a DRM encrypted media file. EMI have stated that they will continue to use DRM technology where appropriate for time or subscription based services. The use of DRM in that area is well within the bounds of its reach in my opinion and is an excellent use of the technology.
From my point of view, this is excellent news. I have refused to download music from iTunes store because the files have DRM attached. Sometime in the near future, I might just swing by the iTunes store and see what they have on offer.