I somehow missed this one last week: Billboard did a long interview with not one, but three EMI execs about the record company's history, current state and strategy going forward. Especially interesting was the part where Doug Merrill, EMI's president of digital, commented on the label's decision to abandon DRM on iTunes and other download stores.

Merrill said that the move towards MP3 only has been great for the company and that DRM in his eyes doesn't provide a value to the fan or the label. DRM was setting the wrong tone with the customers, Merrill said, because the message was that a musician's label didn't trust his fans. Therefore, abandoning DRM was good for consumers and artists.

So what about piracy? Have there been any more files traded since the company decided to forgo content protection? Merrill doesn't think so. Here's what he told Billboard:

"The pirates are doing a busy business regardless. The best way to get a pirated copy probably isn't to buy it from iTunes and then push it. We didn't see the needle move at all on [piracy]."

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