New York City (May 24, 2007) — EMI Music announced that Amazon.com will offer EMI’s entire digital catalogue, which is available in a higher quality, DRM-free premium download format, for sale in Amazon.com’s new digital music store, which the retailer separately announced it will launch later this year in the US.
The Amazon.com digital music store will exclusively offer tracks and albums as MP3s free of digital rights management (DRM) restrictions. EMI is the first major music company to make its entire digital music catalogue available for sale as part of Amazon.com’s new digital music initiative.
The agreement follows EMI’s launch last month of its new premium download offering, in which the company began offering retailers DRM-free music to sell in the audio format of their choice in a variety of bit rates up to CD quality. EMI is releasing the premium downloads in response to consumer demand for DRM-free, high fidelity digital music for use on home music systems, mobile phones and digital music players. EMI’s new DRM-free products will enable full interoperability of digital music across all devices and platforms.
EMI Group Plc also announced a net loss for its recorded music unit for the year ended March 31 of $568 million (288.5 million pounds), after cutting its revenue and profit forecasts twice during the year. Group digital revenue increased by 46.5 percent and EMI Music Publishing revenue declined by less than one percent.
Earlier in May, EMI announced that it had received a number of preliminary indications of interest to acquire the company. A cash offer that values the company at $4.7 billion (2.4 billion pounds) — 265 pence per share — made by private equity group Terra Firma is currently under consideration. Following the offer EMI shares closed at 271 pence, suggesting that investors expect a higher counterbid.
EMI Group plc