The proliferation of the MP3 music download market is clear, as one of the largest record labels in the world has decided to make their music available online without restrictions. EMI Group, the world’s third largest record label, announced in April that they would make their entire collection of downloadable music available for consumers without copy restrictions this month. This is big news for consumers that prefer MP3 music downloads to CDs.
The record label has decided to make online music downloads accessible for any music download service starting in May. “It was clear what we had to do because we hold the consumer at the center of our focus,” said Eric Nicoli, EMI’s chief executive officer. “We take the view that we have to trust our customers.”
Some consumers have long been frustrated by the limits that are imposed on how many times they can copy an MP3 music download. There is no limit on how many times someone can copy a CD to make mixed tapes or other kinds of play lists, so many people have long felt the same should apply to MP3 music downloads. Now this will be true of EMI’s MP3 songs and albums.
Individual MP3 songs without digital rights management software will cost about 30 percent more, which would make them $1.29 per MP3 song instead of 99 cents. The price for an MP3 album in this new format will be the same as before, though. It’s not certain how this will affect the price of MP3 music download sites that are subscription-based. The new MP3 music download format will also be higher-fidelity than the copy-protected music downloads.
“Today, EMI is taking the next big step forward in the digital music revolution,” said Steve Jobs, the chief executive officer of Apple. “This is something that will become very popular.”
By selling MP3 music downloads without copy restrictions, online consumers will be able to shop at different MP3 music download sites where there are hundreds of thousands of MP3 songs. People with iPods will also not be limited to the iTunes music download store. The music recording companies had resisted making MP3 songs free from restrictions, because they feared that consumers would make numerous copies and fewer people would buy the MP3 album or MP3 songs. Some analysts believe this will lead more people to buy music downloads, though.
Now when consumers purchase an MP3 song or MP3 album online, they will really own the music. People will be free to make mixed CDs as many times as they want and send songs to their friends. This is yet another sign of how the MP3 music download market is changing to suit the needs of consumers.
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