Well, ask and ye shall receive. I was just complaining about the low quality of 128kbps iTunes mp3s, and blammo: today EMI announced it will be offering its catalog on iTunes in 256kbps quality for the slightly increased price of $1.29 per song. The big news is that the tracks will also be free of the crippling DRM (Digital Rights Management) protection that many have complained about, but of course the other news is that a record label has finally broken the 99-cent barrier on iTunes, something they've lobbied for unsuccessfully for a while. Hopefully this won't lead to more label influence over prices ("hey, that Beyonce track looks hot, up the price to $3.50 for the next 7 hours!") but if they're willing to make this kind of tradeoff, I'm willing to pay 30 cents.
Somebody does need to tell the Times that Damon Albarn is now two bands removed from Blur, though.