EMI CEO Eric Nicoli and Apple CEO Steve Jobs have announced that music from EMI’s back catalogue will soon be available to buy on iTunes without DRM copyright protections.

In a press conference held this afternoon, the pair announced the plans, in response to consumer demands for the ability to transfer music between different devices.

Eric Nicoli of EMI believes the move will improve sales of music downloads:

“By providing DRM-free downloads, we aim to address the lack of interoperability which is frustrating for many music fans.”

“We believe that offering consumers the opportunity to buy higher quality tracks and listen to them on the device or platform of their choice will boost sales of digital music.

EMI, along with Sony BMG, Warner and Universal, is one of the ‘big four’ labels that owns the copyright to around 70% of the world’s music. All of these labels currently require their music to have some kind of DRM protection when sold online.

Apple’s Steve Jobs wrote an article on the company’s website earlier this year, ‘Thoughts on Music’, in which he called for an end to DRM, for the simple reason that it doesn’t work.

Jobs pointed out that just 3% of music on the average iPod was purchased from the iTunes store, with the majority coming from CDs which have no DRM protection.

In addition, the use of DRM has failed to effectively deal with the issue of piracy, with a billion songs a month downloaded from P2P networks.

A very interesting move. Let’s see if any of the other labels follow suit…