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    EMI releases its first album without copy protection

    Music group EMI can start harvesting the fruits of its landmark copy protection move today as "The Good, The Bad & The Queen" becomes the company's first album available in the new format.


    The group, home to Robbie Williams and Coldplay, this week scrapped copy protection on all its digital tracks in a move that was immediately hailed by Apple chief executive Steve Jobs as "the next big step forward in the digital music revolution".


    Today "The Good, The Bad & The Queen" by Damon Albarn's new, officially nameless, supergroup becomes the first EMI album to be offered for download in a new high quality mp3 format that is free of copy protection, or digital rights management (DRM).

    "Green Fields", the latest single, and the full album, priced £7.99, are now available to download direct from the www.thegoodthebadandthequeen.com, allowing fans instant access to the band's material.


    Apple's iTunes is also running a worldwide feature "Live from Soho EP" which has five tracks from "The Good, The Bad & The Queen" recorded live in New York last month exclusively for online music store.


    Following this week's decision, for the first time downloads by EMI artists purchased from any online music store will be playable on any digital music player, including the market-leading iPod, with no restrictions on their use.


    Until now, owners of digital music players have been restricted to buying downloads from certain stores, depending on the make of their device and the sort of copy protection it could handle.


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