Reaction from the major music labels was mixed. Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman said the idea of DRM-free music was "without logic or merit." EMI appeared more receptive to Jobs' call, however. The company had already experimented with DRM-free music a couple of months earlier, when it offered MP3 files from Norah Jones and Relient K through Yahoo's music store.
"We've always argued that the best way to combat illegal traffic is to make legal content available at decent value and conveniently," Nicoli said on Monday.
Other EMI artists include Pink Floyd, Janet Jackson, Depeche Mode, Iron Maiden, Moby, Queen and The Beatles. Some speculated that EMI would announce Monday The Beatles' music would be on iTunes, but the group's music remains unavailable online, Nicoli said Monday. "We are working on that and we hope it happens soon," he said.
Jobs called Monday's deal "an opportunity for everybody to win."
"They customers win because they get what they want," he said. "They get higher quality audio and the safety net of knowing they can take this track and, without having to burn it to a CD, they can have it be interoperable. And music companies make a little more money in return for offering more value."
A switch to DRM-free music will be good news for consumers, said Bryan Wang, an analyst with InStat in Singapore. Speaking ahead of the announcement Monday, he said that consumers don't necessarily understand DRM and just want to be able to play purchased music on all their devices.
Removing the DRM won't necessarily mean an increase in piracy, he said. The illegal sharing of music tends to drop off as consumers enter adulthood and begin working, so sharing content among people over about 20 is not that common. "We don't expect the illegal transfer of music will be that common," he said.