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EMI DRM Free Music
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as2
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:26 AM
 
Announcement happening now.

Better quality, DRM free, ability to upgrade existing downloads
[img=http://img192.imageshack.us/img192/1300/desktj.jpg]
     
as2  (op)
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:32 AM
 
Will upload slides in a second.

Partnership between EMI and Apple.

EMI catalogue available DRM free in May.

Currently 128kbps AAC - 79p (UK)

People want to be able to use their music on any system.

Audiophiles can currently tell the difference between CD Versions and Current 128kbps AAC

New files 256kbps AAC $1.29/99p/€1.29
[img=http://img192.imageshack.us/img192/1300/desktj.jpg]
     
as2  (op)
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:34 AM
 
[img=http://img192.imageshack.us/img192/1300/desktj.jpg]
     
Oneota
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:34 AM
 
Where are you reading this?

[Edit: There's a press release at emigroup.com ]

[Edit 2: Wow, those are some ugly-ass slides. Someone get that guy a copy of Keynote!]
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dawho9
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:41 AM
 
I love it. Breaking news on MacNN Forums. Good news for the entire industry. This should keep the people in Norway happy for a little bit. Now Steve can really say - "Look, its not us. Look at our new friends at EMI. They can do it so should the others."

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kmkkid
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:41 AM
 
So, because the quality (tick of a box) is better you pay $0.20-$0.30 more for the same song? Am I missing something here? Computer geeks who are in the know regarding encoding tech. are gonna be pissed.


*edit* Ah I see now you pay more to have it non-DRM'd. That makes sense Pay more to allow you to pirate music, because god only knows if you were doing it to begin with
     
as2  (op)
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:42 AM
 
Matt Smith - Sky News - When are the Beatles tracks going on, and will they be DRM Free - Eric Nicoli - They are working on it! Don't know how soon.

Existing 79p tracks will still have DRM, only the 99p 256kbps tracks will be DRM free. Will be able to pay the difference to upgrade songs to new versions.

Bobby Johnson - Guardian - Doesn't having a split system make things more complicated for the customer. Steve Jobs - Those people will have a choice, and they will set iTunes to their preference, and say to iTunes whenever it's available buy the preferred version.

BBC - 2.5million songs will be DRM free by the end of the year (projected) - What impact will this have on the iTunes/iPod partnership. Steve Jobs - We compete based on having the best music store and music player. If customers don't agree then we'll have to do harder.

Unknown Questioner - How will this announcment effect other music services - Steve Jobs - We're not offering anything that isn't available already by purchasing a CD.

Adam Sherman - The Times - What impact will this have on file sharing? Are you giving them a green light to this? Eric Nicoli - We are under the view that we should trust consumers, and the best way to stop consumers stealing music is to give them the best possible music experience so they don't have to pirate music. (paraprased)
[img=http://img192.imageshack.us/img192/1300/desktj.jpg]
     
as2  (op)
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by Oneota View Post
Where are you reading this?

[Edit: There's a press release at emigroup.com ]

[Edit 2: Wow, those are some ugly-ass slides. Someone get that guy a copy of Keynote!]
I'm listening to the audio cast.
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as2  (op)
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:46 AM
 
Just had the question about videos (From Disney etc) being DRM free - not happening at the moment.

Decision from EMI was driven partly by the open letter from Steve Jobs, but mainly from consumer feedback.
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dawho9
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:48 AM
 
Sad, the audio cast won't come up...keep up the good work as2.
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as2  (op)
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:50 AM
 
FT Question - Now the link between iTunes iPod is broken do you expect a fall in sales - Steve - There isn't any link that's broken, people have always been able to either use their own CD's and put onto an iPod, or burn iTunes songs to a CD and rip them. Decisions will be based on easiest and best music players and music store. Want to keep working with the music industry to make the best music store there is.
FT - Are you working with any other digital retailers - Eric Nicoli - We are working with all these retailers if they want to take it.

Question from a freelancer - What's the point of having DRM on 79p tracks if you don't think it works. - Steve - We don't want to raise prices on anyone - Why should we take away what they are already comfortable buying.
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Eug
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:52 AM
 
256 Kbps AAC? I'm surprised.

I encode all my own, and I found after some testing on my home stereo system (Paradigm Reference Studio series speakers) and my Etymotic ER-4P headphones that it was extremely hard to tell the difference above 192 Kbps AAC on most stuff I tried.

I'm not claiming it's identical to the source, but for downloadable tracks, it seems that 192 AAC would be the sweet spot in 2007 for bandwidth cost vs. quality.

P.S. I was using 256 Kbps MP3 before but 192 AAC quality was similar, and 256 Kbps really eats up space quickly on an iPod. Hmm... Maybe that will stimulate the public to buy bigger iPods.
     
as2  (op)
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:57 AM
 
Owen Gibson - Guardian - Will this cause a more flexible approach to pricing on iTunes, Will customers feel betrayed that they have to pay more for music they already have - Steve - There is more flexibility (2 choices, not 1), but why should they feel betrayed, they dont have to pay more. The last thing we want to do is screw things up.

How is this going to work with other music stores - Are you going to insist they go with the 79p/99p cost. Eric - We sell at a wholesale price, the retailer sets the pricing. Our product and prices are available to everyone.

Kate Walsh - City AM - Given that Warner is for DRM, does this make an EMI/Warners merger less likely. Is this the silver bullet for DRM free music - Eric Nicoli - We don't want to discuss a merger here. If this is the bullet, then this will help to generate growth in the digital market.

Nicola - Record of the Day - How can you justify the 20% increase in price, when it will be the same computers generating the new high bitrate tracks on the same computer. Steve - We are not forcing a 20% increase, we are offering a 2nd product with extra features for a price premium.
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as2  (op)
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:58 AM
 
That's the Q/A over... thank god.. my fingers are starting to bleed!!

First question Eric Nicoli asked after that (don't think he realised the mic was still on) - Are there refreshments.. I'm starved!
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LeeG
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:59 AM
 
The sweet note was this:

"Complete albums from EMI Music artists purchased on the iTunes Store will automatically be sold at the higher sound quality and DRM-free, with no change in the price."

So you get the whole album at a higher quality with NO DRM, for the same price - further encouraging album sales (which I know the labels want), and a bonus for the consumer who buys albums - I'm all for this.

As for the above poster who commented on 192AAC - I couldnt agree more - I found 192 to be the sweetspot also, but I guess they didnt want to start arguing with audiophiles, and at 256AAC its pretty DAMN good quality....
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:59 AM
 
How many other music players play AAC right out of the box, anyway?
     
LeeG
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Apr 2, 2007, 09:03 AM
 
I'm betting A LOT more will all of a sudden
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Apr 2, 2007, 09:03 AM
 
I thought April Fool's Day was yesterday...

If this is true, it is a step in the right direction and I hope other labels follow suit.
     
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Apr 2, 2007, 09:15 AM
 
I'm in.
we don't have time to stop for gas
     
starman
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Apr 2, 2007, 09:16 AM
 
Personally, I'll still stick to buying whole albums on CD, but this is a step in the right direction for those that aren't stuck up about CDs like me .

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Dork.
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Apr 2, 2007, 09:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
Personally, I'll still stick to buying whole albums on CD, but this is a step in the right direction for those that aren't stuck up about CDs like me .
Unencumbered 192 kbps AAC is good enough to get me to open my wallet. 256 kbps is even better.

I've stripped the DRM from every iTMS song I've ever purchased, this saves me a step!
     
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Apr 2, 2007, 09:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
Personally, I'll still stick to buying whole albums on CD, but this is a step in the right direction for those that aren't stuck up about CDs like me .
Nah, you're not stuck-up.

Well, regarding CDs, at least.
     
Big Mac
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Apr 2, 2007, 09:39 AM
 
Very encouraging. Very very. Maybe the RIAA is waking up to the truth.

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Eug
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Apr 2, 2007, 09:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dakar² View Post
Nah, you're not stuck-up.

Well, regarding CDs, at least.
I usually get the CDs too, for a few reasons.

1) CDs are usually relatively cheap here (Canada).
2) I still listen to CDs on some of my systems.
3) It's nice having the original as a hard backup.
4) I like having the inserts, etc.

However, this is encouraging. I'm now more likely to get stuff on iTunes if it's DRM free.

BTW, there are some players out there that do AAC (including my Sony Ericsson phone), but most of my non-Apple machines do not support it. If this DRM-less AAC does get more traction, I agree: There will be many more non-Apple products that support AAC.

In the meantime, this AAC solution for the time being maintains Apple's hold on downloadable music to a large extent.

P.S. Is this just a UK thing for now?
( Last edited by Eug; Apr 2, 2007 at 09:54 AM. )
     
slugslugslug
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Apr 2, 2007, 09:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
How many other music players play AAC right out of the box, anyway?
I can't say how many, but there seem to be a lot more than when Apple first started using it. At this point, lots and lots of cell phones can handle it, as can Zune. I'm sure a little digging on Engadget could turn up many more..
     
Dakar²
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Apr 2, 2007, 09:52 AM
 
I've purchased a crapload of CDs this year, and I'm averaging a hair under $10 a CD including shipping. Just need to know where to get 'em.
     
starman
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Apr 2, 2007, 10:05 AM
 
For me, it's the quality of the audio, and the hard backup as well. The downside is space, I'm SO OUT OF ROOM at home. I've been buying CDs since 1986. That MIGHT sway me to buying SOME albums on the iTMS, but not many. I was even considering backing up EVERYTHING I own onto a massive RAID and putting the CDs away. I don't know.

I just feel like I'm missing something when I buy a digital download.

Originally Posted by Dakar² View Post
Nah, you're not stuck-up.

Well, regarding CDs, at least.
/spank

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Dakar²
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Apr 2, 2007, 10:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
For me, it's the quality of the audio, and the hard backup as well. The downside is space, I'm SO OUT OF ROOM at home. I've been buying CDs since 1986.

I just feel like I'm missing something when I buy a digital download.
Couldn't agree more.
     
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Apr 2, 2007, 10:18 AM
 
Darn, why couldn't they just sell the music in Apple Lossless? Certainly 256 AAC is better than what it currently is, but why not go the full way to lossless.
     
Big Mac
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Apr 2, 2007, 10:27 AM
 
Files would be bigger than most would want to download, I assume. It would be nice if Apple gave some choice in that regard.

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Apr 2, 2007, 10:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by G-Force View Post
Darn, why couldn't they just sell the music in Apple Lossless? Certainly 256 AAC is better than what it currently is, but why not go the full way to lossless.
Well, the filesize for Apple lossless is huge in comparison. It's on average around 60% of the original PCM audio file, and the normal uncompressed audio is 1.4 Mbps.

You do the math.
     
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Apr 2, 2007, 10:40 AM
 
That's great news. I'm in.
     
nonhuman
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Apr 2, 2007, 10:50 AM
 
Now we just need a non iPod device that can sync with iTunes.
     
ort888
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Apr 2, 2007, 10:55 AM
 
There's unlimited supply
and there is no reason why
I tell you it was all a frame
they onl1y did it 'cos of fame -
Who? EMI

Too many people had the suss
Too many people support us
An unlimited amount
too many outlets in and out -
Who? EMI


And sir and friends are crucified
a day they wished that we had died
We are an addition
we are ruled by-none
Never ever never

And you thought that we were faking
that we were all just money making
you do not believe we're for real
or you would lose your cheap appeal?


Don't judge a book just by the cover
Unless you cover just another
And blind acceptance is a sign
of stupid fools who stand in line like EMI


Unlimited edition
with an unlimited supply
That was fhe only reason
we alt had to say goodbye

Unlimited supply
EMI there is no reason why
EMI I tell you if was all a frame
EMI they only did it 'cos of fame
EMI I do not need the pressure
EMI I can't stand the useless fools
EMI unlimited supply
EMI Hallo EMl goodbye A & M

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voodoo
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Apr 2, 2007, 11:28 AM
 
I like!

I didn't expect to see something like this anytime soon. It is certain the other big distributers will be watching this experiment with great care.

When EMI will be raking up at least 20% more for their music with no apparent fall in sales (probably quite the contrary) everyone will come aboard.

Nothing interests those people except money.

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Apr 2, 2007, 11:37 AM
 
It's too bad it's not coming until May. I would love to jump on a few singles.

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Apr 2, 2007, 11:58 AM
 
Wow, this guy has a seriously good point. Forecast calls for raining chairs in Redmond right now.

Originally Posted by Admiral Ag
The real winner here is Apple, and the potential big loser is Microsoft. This may well kill Windows Media as a digital audio format.

Think about it... If all the labels offer their music DRM free by the end of the year, then what incentive is there for any online music store, except for the Zune store, to offer music in Windows Media format, given that the iPod is incompatible with WMA and represents about 80% of the target market.

There simply isn't any reason for an online music store that isn't owned by Microsoft to offer downloads that are incompatible with around about 80% of the devices that people own.

More to the point. Microsoft is only offering the Zune as a means of pushing its own audio format. Yet even Zune customers will be now able to play DRM free tracks from the iTMS. Microsoft has just caught up to the idea that you have to have a closed system to succeed (which was never the case, as Jobs' said in his letter a couple of months back), and now they will have to go home and think again.

Steve Jobs has just succeeded in the first step of completely destroying Microsoft's music strategy, and no-one seems to have noticed. He must be chuckling to himself.
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Apr 2, 2007, 12:11 PM
 
^^^ I agree, but then again, Microsoft destroyed its music strategy all on its own.
     
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Apr 2, 2007, 12:22 PM
 
The announcement today was great. And keeping the album price the same while boosting the sound quality and removing the DRM should encourage album sales (which is what I tend to buy generally). However, for the life of me I don't understand why the digital booklets are so few and far between when you purchase a full album. It seems to me that if these were always included that would cover the last remaining benefit of buying a CD. Some of us enjoy reading the liner notes. Personally I don't enjoy it enough to make me deal with the hassle of a CD ... but I always appreciate it when they are there. Usually it's just a PDF file ... if it were always included that would encourage album sales even more.

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Apr 2, 2007, 12:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
How many other music players play AAC right out of the box, anyway?
List of products that support AAC.
     
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Apr 2, 2007, 12:37 PM
 
I'm in as well, although I'll still buy CDs. I have over 600 Cds I've purchased in the last ten years or so, and I like having the hard backup, album art, and notes, although I also purchase from the iTunes Store. For 30¢/song extra, it's worth it to me.
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Apr 2, 2007, 12:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
The announcement today was great. And keeping the album price the same while boosting the sound quality and removing the DRM should encourage album sales (which is what I tend to buy generally). However, for the life of me I don't understand why the digital booklets are so few and far between when you purchase a full album. It seems to me that if these were always included that would cover the last remaining benefit of buying a CD. Some of us enjoy reading the liner notes. Personally I don't enjoy it enough to make me deal with the hassle of a CD ... but I always appreciate it when they are there. Usually it's just a PDF file ... if it were always included that would encourage album sales even more.

OAW
Agreed, the only reason I still buy a CD here and there is to get the artwork and such. A nice high-quality PDF booklet with every album would put the final nail in the coffin of CDs for me....and many others IMO.
     
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Apr 2, 2007, 12:42 PM
 
I very rarely buy music. In fact I can only think of one album that I've bought in the past 3 years or so, and I got it on CD because I didn't want to deal with iTunes' DRM.

In the rare event that I buy any more music any time soon, this will definitely push me towards buying it from iTunes.
     
Salty
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Apr 2, 2007, 05:43 PM
 
This is kind of cool. Doesn't seem to be available in Canada. Thankfully most of the independent labels I listen to are somewhat owned by EMI. I could see myself downloading some higher quality versions, I don't know for sure that I'd want to really. I do like the idea of burning large MP3 mix CDs which i can't do as of now without screwing with a CD RW. It's not worth my time to do the 700+ tracks that I've bought on iTunes in the last two years. Besides thankfully I stripped some of those with JHymn anyway. Why? Am I gonna say I've never given an album away to a friend? Nope I have. At the same time I typically tell them to buy the stuff that they like. But often I just wanted to put it on a friend's computer.
     
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Apr 2, 2007, 05:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by Salty View Post
This is kind of cool. Doesn't seem to be available in Canada.
Not available anywhere yet. Won't start being rolled out until May.
     
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Apr 2, 2007, 06:10 PM
 
Great. One less reason for me to get an iPhone and one more reason stick with Sony Ericssons instead. Not really. I'd still want to get an iPhone, but if I can upgrade my EMI songs to non-DRM, I don't have to manually rip them into non-DRM'd AACs. Awesomeness.
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icruise
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Apr 2, 2007, 06:23 PM
 
I think it's interesting that they upped the bitrate at the same time as getting rid of DRM. If they hadn't done that, it would seem like you were paying extra to not have DRM on your music. It reminds me of the "iPod tax" idea. You have to pay more because people will use it for piracy, but just because you pay more doesn't mean that you are actually entitled to pirate it. It doesn't really hold up to logical examination.

This way they can claim that the extra money is for the higher quality, although I don't know if the extra storage and bandwidth involved comes anywhere near justifying that kind of increase in price. I have a feeling that they're increasing the price at least partially to make up for whatever "losses" they anticipate because of the loss of DRM.

But anyway, I think it's good news, especially since I buy entire albums most of the time, so I won't be paying extra in any case. And I would probably pay to "upgrade" any tracks I already have.
     
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Apr 2, 2007, 07:05 PM
 
What I'm wondering is how this will work with the new Complete My Album feature. If you bought a single song with DRM, then complete the album will you get your old song upgraded along with the rest of the album? If that's the case I will be one happy camper. I'm already going through my library to identify which tracks I want to upgrade first. I've got enough that I probably won't want to do it all at once.
     
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:39 PM
 
I haven't bought anything from iTS yet, now I will.
     
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Apr 2, 2007, 08:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by PurpleGiant View Post
I haven't bought anything from iTS yet, now I will.
Likewise I would never had considered buying from the iTMS (or any other DRM music). But now, I'll at least consider it, and I suspect that in time, I will start buying non-DRM music this way.
     
 
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