How to Search iTunes for EMI Songs on Mac OS X (non-DRM)

About two months ago I wrote a post about Steve Jobs’ announcement on the role of DRM in the online music industry:

Steve Jobs Drops a DRM Bomb on the Music Industry: Thoughts on Music

Well, that release was followed with the news about two weeks ago that iTunes would begin carrying music from one of the major music labels, EMI, without DRM. In fact, it’s a very clever proposition: For $0.99 you get the standard, 128-bit AAC files with copy protection. For $1.29, you get 256-bit AAC files with no copy protection.

Well, since I already wrote a long post on the topic, I thought I’d follow up here with a slightly more user-centric question:

Let’s assume that I love the new DRM-free music… how do I find it?

First attempt: I tried to search the iTunes store for EMI. The results were meaningless. I guess their search engine isn’t set up to search by publisher.

Second attempt: I looked around for the announcement on the Apple website or in the iTunes store, hoping for a link that would take me to a way to filter iTunes just for the DRM-free music. No luck.

Third attempt: I found a great little hint on the Mac OS X Hints site. It’s a simple terminal command to let you find out which of your purchased songs are EMI. You’ll be able to upgrade these to the DRM-free versions for $0.30 a song in May.

It seems that the new DRM-free music isn’t available yet, so I might have just been looking too early.

Oh well. Apple will likely debut the functionality with the new format in May. I hope. I fall into the camp of users who have resisted buying songs on iTunes because of the low-quality (128-bit) and the uncertain future of the FairPlay DRM. Instead, I’ve been ripping CDs and ripping them to Apple Lossless. But this new format looks interesting.

In the meantime, my old friend Wikipedia does have a page on every artist signed by EMI… it’s a start, at least, for searching iTunes for DRM-free music.