Hot Topic launches DRM-free downloads

October 31, 2008 | 13:34

Tags: #digital #digital-distribution #digital-download #drm #goth #mp3 #music

Companies: #hot-topic

These days it seems that everyone wants a piece of the music download pie, with even the most unlikely companies getting involved in the digital download biz: US-based wannabe-goth clothing retailer Hot Topic, for example.

According to BetaNews, the popular clothing chain has launched a new “lifestyle portal” dubbed ShockHound.com which features – amongst other things – a DRM-free MP3 download service from a range of genres. While it's always good to see a company go for the DRM-free option, I'm just a trifle confused what made Hot Topic decide to enter the increasingly crowded – and notoriously profit-free – digital download sector.

More interesting than the business decisions behind launch is the technology the site runs on. The backend file storage and distribution is handled by Amazon's S3 cloud storage system, with Adobe's AIR technology taking care of the front end with a snazzy looking desktop download manager. The lack of digital rights management on the songs means that there are no restrictions on what media player you use to listen to the music, and the use of the cross-platform AIR means that the service is truly platform agnostic.

Equally impressive is the cooperation the company has received from the 'big four' record labels: Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, Warner Music Group, and EMI have all entered into agreements to see their artists represented in the ShockHound store.

Do you think there's room for another digital download service in the market, or does iTunes have the sector all sewn up – DRM and all? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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