I wrote recently (Fuck the RIAA) about how much the recording industry sucks, particularly because they put pointless restrictions (DRM) on music bought online.
Well if you haven't heard already, one record label - EMI - and one (big) online music vendor - the iTunes Music Store - are going to start offering DRM-free music next month. Here is a transcript of Steve Jobs announcing it. This is good news for everyone. People who buy music will have the option of buying it without restrictions (and at higher quality, to boot), so they'll be less likely to pirate it. The music industry will benefit from less pirating, and more sales. A lot of people won't even care about this, but those who do will eat it up. It can't fail, and hopefully that means that all music will be DRM-free soon.
The only catch is that these new DRM-free, higher-quality singles will cost about 30 cents more than the old 99 cent singles. If it was only removing DRM, this would be dumb; sorta like a company selling defective computers for a year, then coming out with a new, defect-free computer for only 30% more. But I guess the increased quality justifies the price increase. Plus, full albums will be the same price, which is all I really buy anyway.
So good news for everyone. Maybe we're finally getting to the point where CDs - and indeed all physical ways of buying music - are obsolete.