EMI Inks Deal with SNOCAP

Today, EMI announced that is has inked a deal with SNOCAP to sell DRM-Free (Digital Rights Management) music.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

While already announcing that it will sell DRM free music with Apple’s iTunes music store, this deal, according to EMI, will allow artists to sell their music from social networking sites, blogs and even right off the artists websites. The songs will be encoded at the high quality of 320kbps.

EMI has an interesting history when it comes to selling music without DRM. Two months ago, EMI launched DRM-free music via Apple’s iTunes music store. The move was a bold one compared to the other three major record labels. Initially, it drew a large amount of support. Many argued that DRM was a major cause for the headaches music consumers experienced these days – a sort of casualty to anti-piracy efforts.

While few critics would argue this is a step in the “wrong” direction, they still argued that there is a sort of ‘sur-charge’ for the legal removal of DRM since the prices were higher than that of the songs that were encoded in DRM. Then there’s the issue with personal information being stored on the songs on iTunes – yet this is not a requirement or policy of EMI. Still, those critical of Apple say that this is a breach in privacy. Development for the removal of this information embedded into Apple’s AAC music format is currently in the works.

While many took issue at this aspect, another aspect was looming overhead which brought uncertainty more than anything else. That, of course, was the acceptance of a $4.7 Billion take-over offer. Some wondered if this would cease EMI’s business moves as a result.

Today’s announcement seems to have indicated that, so far, the takeover offer hasn’t hindered anything by the major record label. Beginning this week, EMI said that it will start selling its music via SNOCAP’s Mystores. Artists piloting this new move include 30 Seconds To Mars, The Almost, The Bird and The Bee, KORN, Dean Martin, MIMs, Relient K, Saosin, Sick Puppies, Yellowcard and legendary Blue Note artists.

SNOCAP’s ‘spread the word’ feature allows artists as well as users to embed a retail point anywhere on the internet. This is just like YouTube’s embedding feature where a video can be embedded anywhere on the internet via a specific code provided on the YouTube webpage (pending the posters applied restrictions on the video.)

“SNOCAP’s MyStore technology is an exciting new proposition and another step forward for consumers, artists and the digital music market overall,” said Eric Nicoli, CEO of EMI Group. “Giving consumers the capability of buying music directly from their favorite artists’ websites and social networking areas is a great way to connect artists directly with fans. We’re delighted that our DRM-free, higher-quality offering will be available this way, so that fans can play the music they buy on a range of devices.”

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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