According to statements by Eric Nicoli, CEO of the EMI group, “In all our research, consumers have told us that they are willing to pay a premium price for a music file that they can use on any player. It is clear that interoperability is important for music buyers and that it is also the key to unlocking and empowering digital business. “
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has stated that high-quality songs will be encoded as 256 kbps AAC files instead of the 128 kbps used for standard songs. The new songs will be priced at $ 1.29, which is an increase of $ 0.30 over the standard price of $ 0.99 (€ 0.99) for current songs.
Users will not be required to pay the higher prices if they do not want to. Jobs has stated that the higher-quality, DRM-free files will be a bonus in the store and not a replacement for the current offering. Users can still choose to purchase DRM-encoded songs at the price of 0.99 EUR.
High-quality albums will remain at the same price as current albums. Users who already own EMI songs purchased through iTunes will be able to upgrade their library for a price of $ 0.30 per song if they wish.
Jobs has indicated that iTunes will automatically tell users if a song is available in higher quality.
According to Jobs, EMI is only the first to take the step, and indicates that Apple expects that by the end of the year it will be almost half of the iTunes Store offer that is DRM-free.