Amazon unveils DRM-free music store

Written by Joe Martin

May 17, 2007 // 4:33 p.m.

Tags: #amazon #apple #coldplay #drm #emi #ipod #itunes #joss-stone #mp3 #norah-jones #player #record

Amazon announced it would launching itself into the MP3 market later this year, something that has long been rumoured but never made official until now.

The Amazon music store, or whatever they decide to finally name it, will offer millions of songs from in excess of 12,000 record labels, including EMI. EMI famously announced last month that they would begin to sell music without Digital Rights Management (DRM, which could also stand for Digital Rights Massacre or Digital Restrictions Management) software included, making them the first major record label to open themselves up in such a manner.

While EMI originally reached this deal with iTunes, they made it clear at the time that they were not committing exclusively to Steve Jobs' musical behemoth.

"Our MP3-only strategy means all the music that customers buy on Amazon is always DRM-free and plays on any device," said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a statement. "We’re excited to have EMI joining us in this effort and look forward to offering our customers MP3s from amazing artists like Coldplay, Norah Jones and Joss Stone."

Sounds good then, if only for the Norah Jones part.

The store, which will be opening at an unconfirmed date later in the year, will not feature content from the three other major labels who still wish to exclusively use DRM technologies to protect 'their' music - i.e. the music written by the bands and then sold to us for our own use. Steve Jobs' Apple iTunes has appeared to try to pressure these other labels to forego the much hated DRM 'solution', but as yet nothing has come of it.

Is DRM justified? Is piracy killing genuine buyers DRM-free wishes? Or are all record labels evil, overgloryfied PR companies? Tell us what you think in the forums.

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