Apple and EMI will begin offering DRM-free songs via iTunes in May. I honestly never saw this day coming… Not on a voluntary basis without the might of several European countries behind it. There’ll be a 30 cent premium here in the US for unprotected tracks, but with it comes higher audio quality (256kbps versus 128). Jobs expects other labels will get on board and 50% of the iTunes music catalog will be DRM-free by year-end.
While I wonder if this opens the door for other (new?) hardware audio devices to gain a foothold, Michael Gartenberg has his doubts. As a consumer, if I can upgrade all my iTunes-purchased tracks to the unprotected version (as described) I might just make whatever my current cell phone is (not the iPhone) into my portable music player.