It’s been rumored for some time now that EMI would begin to offer DRM free music. It was announced today in London and it sounds like a win-win situation if you’re into downloading music from iTunes.

Songs will be encoded at 256kbps AAC (current is 128kbps) and sold at $1.29 per song, $0.30 more per song than the current price. These will be offered along side the existing lower quality, DRM tracks, and consumers can choose.

Entire album purchases will stay at the same price, but have the higher audio quality and will be DRM free.

I never liked iTunes download quality and the 256kbps will certainly solve that problem. The $1.29 per song is reasonable for per song purchases. The best part of the deal isn’t even highlighted. Entire album purchases will be the same price (usually $9.99), but will now be the higher quality (256kbps) DRM free versions.

I think iTunes and music downloads in general could look very different by the end of this year.