In another example of "obvious brilliance" (here meaning a move that's both obvious and brilliant b/c nobody else has done it), Apple and EMI have decided to go the blank tape tax route and simply tax un-DRM'd music to make up for the piracy.

- EMI's Music will be sold without Digital Rights Manangement restrictions through iTunes
- These new songs will be higher quality (256kbps) and sell for $1.29/song individually
- DRM-Restricted songs at the lower quality settings (128kbps) will still be sold for $.99

Brilliant. For most schmoes, the move from 128 to 256 kbps means bupkiss practically, but the increased sound quality looks like a pretty major score, and will make audiophiles (aka, the ePress) very happy.

This perception of a benefit is what you trade for instituting the piracy tax. Apparently the barrier to entry from DRM to piracy is worth less than 30 cents on the dollar [1], b/c that's what these folk are charging once the protection's been removed. If you can't stop 'em, join 'em, at least by charging them more to do what they're already doing. Capitalize on the would-be recreational pirates. Guinesses all around.

[1] Okay, this is possibly inaccurate, as 30 cents might simply be the price that [Apple & EMI believe] the market will allow now. Still, you don't make such a move unless you feel that it will be, on some term (short, medium, long, etc) profitable. I'm not sure how it could be a loss leader, especially with albums' prices staying constant even when ordered in the new format; this move away from DRM isn't costing them much and is giving the possiblility for an interesting experiment. It will be intriguing to see how the songs are watermarked, however, and if the format will enable [law] suits against those too naive to know how to remove the marks.