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Music fans give DRM-free music sales boom

EMI is benefiting from its decision to go DRM-free on digital music service like iTunes

EMI has reported that its DRM-free music tracks on iTunes are selling better than the ones that are 'infected' with DRM. The announcement was made at a music industry conference in New York yesterday.

EMI launched protection-free music on iTunes last month in a radical move which set it apart from the other three major record labels. But it's a move which seems to have paid off, with albums such as the Pink Floyd classic Dark Side Of The Moon seeing a sales boom of nearly 350 per cent.

"The initial results of DRM-free music are good," said Lauren Berkowitz, a senior vice president of the London-based EMI.

DRM (digital rights management) is a form of protection used in digital music and video files to stop piracy.

DRM-free does well

Apple's iTunes store started selling unprotected EMI music at the end of May this year. This catalogue of music includes albums by the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Norah Jones and Coldplay.

iTunes will soon be joined by Amazon and PassAlong in selling DRM-free EMI music.

If EMI continues to be successful in making its music available digitally without any form of copy protection, it could force the hand of the other three major labels: Sony BMG , Universal and Warner . They could feel that they have to follow suit for fear of being left behind in an evolving marketplace.

James Rivington

James has been working with TechRadar for over 12 years and is now the Global Editor-in-Chief of eCommerce at TR and its sister sites including PC Gamer and That means he looks after buying guides and deals pages as well as all of the nifty price comparison tools we use to help readers find the best deals on the coolest products.