I knew I was out of the loop while we were away on holiday, but I didn’t realize I was so far out of the loop that I missed this:

“CUPERTINO, California–April 2, 2007–Apple® today announced that EMI Music’s entire digital catalog of music will be available for purchase DRM-free (without digital rights management) from the iTunes® Store ( worldwide in May. DRM-free tracks from EMI will be offered at higher quality 256 kbps AAC encoding, resulting in audio quality indistinguishable from the original recording, for just $1.29 per song. In addition, iTunes customers will be able to easily upgrade their entire library of all previously purchased EMI content to the higher quality DRM-free versions for just 30 cents a song.”

It’s the logical follow-up to Steve Jobs’ open letter to the music industry from back in February, but I hadn’t expected it to happen quite so soon.

Er, yay!

Now if only Apple would get some video content into the Store for us folks outside the USA, everything would be peachy. See, I’ve just got myself a new 80GB iPod, and I’m suddenly alive to the idea of small, portable video. Which leads to thoughts of converting our DVD collection to H.264 and using iTunes on our Mac Mini as a full-fledged media library, rather than using VLC and distantDVD to play ripped VIDEO_TS folders. And suddenly the whole Apple TV thing makes sense, too. (If only they’d make the video content available, yada yada.)

Man, I feel so behind the times. This is what I get for not keeping up with BoingBoing every day.

(One prediction, though: given that us poor Windows users need Photoshop Elements or Adobe album in order to show their photos via Apple TV, but that we can sync our photos to an iPod with iTunes alone, I don’t think it will be long before iTunes gains some form of photo album capability.)