EMI to release Albarn's new album to download

LONDON - EMI has announced plans to release the debut album of Blur singer Damon Albarn's new band The Good, the Bad & the Queen, as a DRM-free MP3 format download.

The band, which features ex-Clash bassist Paul Simonon, Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen, and ex-Verve guitarist Simon Tong, will make their debut album, 'The Good, the Bad & the Queen', available via the band's website as a downloadable MP3 file. It is the first time EMI has released an album in the DRM-free digital format.

EMI said the album and latest single, 'Green Fields', which are each available to download from the band's website in a DRM-free format, would allow fans to listen to the music on digital music players and mobile phones.

The critically acclaimed album, which was released in January this year, will also be available via Apple's iTunes, in 256kbps MP3 format, which claims to have an audio quality "undistinguishable" from the original recording.

The band's arrival, which follows Albarn's success with now-defunct virtual group Gorillaz, has caused confusion in the UK music scene because they have no official name. They have since been named The Good, the Bad & the Queen by the UK press, after the title of their debut album.

A concert EP, 'Live from Soho', featuring five tracks from the album recorded in New York, is also available via iTunes to download.