The deal is signed. DRM is optional. iTunes is much less "crippled-by-design". So what will the EMI/Apple deal mean to iTunes in the long run? Here are my predictions. Feel free to chime in with your own in the comments.
- The 99-cent flat pricing model is dead. Once people get used to the two-tiered system, I expect backlist prices to drop--and new release prices to rise.
- Once EMI folds, the rest of the music industry will follow. If it makes money, it makes money. And if it makes more money than before, it kind of defeats the whole "Piracy is costing the music industry" argument.
- The 128 kbps track is on the way out. You can always downsample, but you can't upsample. It doesn't cost Apple all that much more to store and send better quality music. I see the lower quality tracks disappearing over time.