Well, I guessed right…

…unfortunately, it wasn’t my most radical guess that got the brass ring. But I’m very glad to see, just a short time after Steve Jobs’s jab at DRM, that the vision is starting to come true with this new deal with EMI (higher quality, DRM free downloads at $1.25 a pop).

What’s not to like about this deal? Even at 256 kbps encoding, you’re paying for lossy copies of the music; for a typical 10-song album, that’s $12.50 for essentially a lo-fi version. But how lo-fi is it? I’d like to see the acoustic research; most of the benchmarking I’ve seen has only looked at 128 kbps AAC. And of course the fact that it’s unrestricted is the key.

Even better for all concerned, it comes with a 30 cent a song upconversion option. I’d better watch my wallet. I don’t have that many iTunes store purchases, but I could easily see a large bill if I just blanket-upgraded everything. (Not to mention the hit on my wallet for Complete My Album, but that’s another story.)

So now the remaining question is: how fast will the other labels follow suit in fleeing DRM?