I certainly hope so. EMI announced today that they will begin selling higher quality, DRM free music for $1.29 USD per download. I can’t stand MP3 files at less than 192 kbps, so they’ve got that solved – the files will be 256 kbps. And the price is pretty good – not great, but good. The only thing preventing me from dropping some cash right now is that only iTunes is selling the music so far. I can’t stand iTunes.
Eventually stores will be able to sell the music in either AAC, WMA, MP3, or “other unprotected formats of their choice.” Works for me! You can read much more analysis at TechMeme.
Did you know Napster had suggested this idea more than seven years ago? Don Dodge explains:
We suggested free file sharing of 56 kbps files that were good enough for “sampling” and probably analogous to AM radio quality sound. We would offer higher quality versions in 256 kbps format for sale at $1.00 per download. This way Napster could continue to offer free downloads of low quality files and sell high quality music.
We know how that turned out. In more ways than one, Napster was ahead of its time.