It's been rumored for weeks and now, just as the Wall Street Journal predicted, EMI music is DRM-free. True to his word, Steve Jobs has "embraced it in a heartbeat" making it available for download from Apple's iTunes store, first, starting in May. It's taken so so long but now even (one of) the Big Four realizes that DRM fails to prevent piracy -- succeeding only at being an unnecessary nuisance for the vast majority of law abiding consumers. Bravo EMI, bravo. Now it's your turn to vote with your dollars. We'll see just how long the remaining majors can claim that removing DRM is "completely without logic or merit."

Update: And now for the specifics: iTunes customers will have the choice of 256kbps, non-DRM'ed tracks for $1.29 per, or the same songs in regular 128kbps AAC locked up all nice and tight with FairPlay for the usual 99 cents. What's more, any EMI tunes you've ever downloaded from the store can be upgraded to the new, higher-quality versions for just 30 cents apiece.

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EMI music on iTunes -- now DRM free and higher quality