EMI Licenses Snocap, Offers DRM-Free Downloads

EMI Music has now finalized a DRM-free licensing deal with Snocap, a move that allows the label to spin paid downloads on MySpace.

Snocap carries a critical partnership with MySpace that enables artists to position downloads on their profile pages, and share resulting revenues.  The latest deal follows an earlier arrangement involving Snocap and Warner Music Group, though EMI is the first major to lend DRM-free content to the alliance.  MP3s are now being positioned on the MySpace pages of a number of artists, including 30 Seconds to Mars, Korn, Dean Martin, MIMs, Relient K, Saosin, and Yellowcard.  “Giving consumers the capability of buying music directly from their favorite artists’ websites and social networking areas is a great way to connect artists directly with fans,” said Eric Nicoli, chief executive of EMI Group.  “We’re delighted that our DRM-free, higher-quality offering will be available this way, so that fans can play the music they buy on a range of devices.”

For EMI, the Snocap tie-up follows an earlier DRM-free deal involving the iTunes Store.  Similar to the iTunes arrangement, Snocap MyStores will sell EMI tracks at an elevated price point of $1.30.  The Snocap tracks will also be encoded as higher-quality files, according to information supplied by the companies.  That is part of a larger EMI philosophy that consumers are willing to pay more for higher-quality MP3s, though it remains unclear if the proposition is resonating.  After positioning its DRM-free catalog on iTunes in late May, EMI has yet to offer substantive data on the collaboration.  Other digital music stores are also planning to spin the DRM-free catalog from EMI, though specific rollout dates have not been specified.