Universal Music Group has announced that it will test the market by selling DRM-Free Music. High-quality downloads will be offered through digital retailers such as Rhapsody, Amazon, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Real Networks, Transworld, and PureTracks; but not iTunes. This is in hope of taking away the iTunes monopoly, by building more retail outlets for consumers. Universal refused to enter into any long-term licensing deals with iTunes, and opted for a month-to-month arrangement.
EMI and Apple today announced a plan to sell DRM free music starting this May. Songs on the iTunes store will be sold a higher quality bit-rate of 256 kbps AAC for $1.29 a song. You will also have the option to upgrade songs you have already purchased at the 128 kbps rate for $.30 a song. EMI’s music videos will also be sold without DRM for no additional charge. For more information you can read the press releases at the links below.
Note: EMI will also sell DRM free music on other download stores at a later date.
An article from the man himself, Steve Jobs, appeared today on Apple’s website in regards to his thoughts on Music. The short story is that Steve Jobs says Apple would be more then happy to embrace DRM free music and that its up to the “Big 4” labels to decide weather the music they sell gets the DRM smack or not. Give the good article a read here.
DRM is the same thing as the record labels and some content providers saying “I’m Scared”. DRM (the cute way of saying Digital rights management) locks Music, movies, and any other type of content to a specific way of using it. An example of this would be buying a song from itunes but not being able to play the song without an iPod or the itunes media player. Another example would be Microsoft’s Playsforsure. The clever name is not very descriptive though because Playsforsure DRM does not work with every mp3 player (ex. Microsoft’s own Zune).
The internet tubes are filled with anti-DRM propaganda, and so I will spare you all the reasons that DRM is evil because at the end of the day it does that on its own. Rather IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢d like to spend a few minutes going over the opposite, and all the positive things about DRM free content.
The Compact Disc was such a great way to deliver music to a paying customer. I say was because in the age of downloads, the CD appears to be one the way out. However if I were the record companies I would be pushing CD’s now more than ever. CD’s are a way they can still feel safe and people can then do use the content they purchased to listen it in whichever way they prefer. My temporary suggestion to the dilemma that people run into would be “The Ten Dollar CD”. $10 seems to me to be a sweet spot, so why not suck in a little bit of the greed [record labels] and sell every CD for ten bucks?
I know I would seem to be trying to hold on to the past. With 13 billion songs (or whatever the number) sold on itunes, the general public looks to be saying that they want the convenience of buying songs online. It’s funny I use the word convenience because owning a song that you have to go through many illegal steps to get it to play where you want it to is not convenient. The opposite of DRM is freedom right? Well what’s the opposite of downloading a song? I guess the closest thing would be going to the store and buying a CD. As of right now there’s only one or the other. You can’t have freedom in a download. So what is the answer? I guess it’s to buy a CD, or download from the DRM free Emusic.com, or listen to the radio, or give up music. The answer is not Digital Rights Management.
Just a few bands and labels you’ll
find on www.Emusic.com
-The Militia Group
There is also www.downloadpunk.com
which is in the business of non-DRM mp3’s
More Links where you can find more info about DRM and alternatives
Defective By Design: Against DRM, points out the fact that this copy protection is crippled from the start.
Wikipedia: Information about which devices use DRM
DRM.info: Article giving reasons to care about this