A Pleasant Surprise

So a little while back, EMI and Apple announced the rollout of DRM-free songs on the iTunes Store. This means complete customer freedom to actually use their music in the way that they want- choose their music playback software, MP3 player, back it up, play it on another device, without any restrictions treating the customer like a criminal.

EMI is one of the “big four” music labels – it owns a large percentage of the record labels out there. This means that a major percentage of songs on the iTunes Store (and, presumably, others) will be DRM Free. Some of the major artists signed to the EMI label include The Beatles, James Brown, Elvis Presley, Pink Floyd, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, Norah Jones, and Garth Brooks.

But the really exciting thing I just remembered is the labels owned by EMI Christian Music Group:

  • Forefront Records (dc Talk, tobyMac, Audio Adrenalinie)
  • Gotee Records (4th Avenue Jones, John Reuben, Relient K)
  • Sparrow Records (David Crowder Band, Newsboys, Switchfoot pre-Columbia)
  • Tooth & Nail Records (Emery, MxPx, Showbread) includes sub-labels:
    • BEC Recordings (O.C. Supertones, KJ-52)
    • Solid State Records (Haste the Day, He Is Legend, Norma Jean)

So basically almost all of the good, progressive and actually creative Christian artists will now be sold DRM-free. EMI Christian CDs for a while came with a really paranoid message:

This recording and artwork are protected by copyright law. Using Internet services to distribute copyrighted music, giving away illegal copies of discs or lending discs to others for them to copy is illegal and does not support those involved in making this piece of music – especially the artist. By carrying out any of these actions it has the same effect as stealing music.

This message really turned me off. I had just gone to a store, plopped down upwards of $20 for an album that I wanted – instead of getting it on any number of illegal filesharing networks where it is easily available – taken off the shrink wrap, put the CD in, and felt good about supporting creative music. Then I get confronted with a message that guilts me for something I didn’t do.

So I decided not to support those labels as long as they treated their customers like criminals. But now that their parent company is going DRM-free, I can now support them again.

My wallet is in trouble.