Friday, January 4, 2008


Report: RIP DRM, as Last Major Label Plans to Ditch Restrictions

In a move certain to rock the distribution of digital music, Sony BMG is in the midst of finalizing plans to begin offering at least part of its downloadable music catalog DRM-free, according to

This makes Sony BMG the last of the Big Four record labels to cave on digital rights management schemes designed to restrict the distribution of music via peer-to-peer networks. The decision follows the Warner Music Group announcement in late December saying the label would sell songs sans DRM through The EMI- and Vivendi-owned Universal Music Group announced a plan to offer DRM-free downloadable content in 2007.

As the major labels abandon DRM, it becomes increasingly likely that new distribution channels will rise up capable of challenging Apple's market-dominating iTunes Store. Amazon's DRM-free store, for instance, offers variable pricing. Social network sites like Facebook and MySpace could also potentially provide outlets for the sale of DRM-free songs as well. The record labels want that type of flexibility, which Apple has been reluctant to provide.

Adjusting the digital music distribution model is becoming more crucial than ever: The Associated Press reported Thursday that album sales fell 9.5 percent in 2007.

Sony BMG will participate in a Super Bowl promotion with Pepsi and Amazon that will give away 1 billion songs from major labels, BusinessWeek reported, citing an anonymous source. The promotion will kick off Feb 3.

Source [Wired]

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