Hell freezes over as Sony drops DRM

January 4, 2008 | 13:10

Tags: #bmg #downloads #drm #free #itunes #music #online

Companies: #apple #facebook #sony

Well as Blighty becomes Brighty given the snow fall, it may seem like the end of days is coming as the last major DRM enforcer, Sony BMG music, finally caves in to popular demand. According to Business Week, Sony will drop DRM for at least part of its catalogue and look at new avenues of online music sales through Facebook or MySpace, or with retailers such as Amazon.

Song BMG is the last of the major music labels to drop DRM, following Warner Music Group in December and Universal Music Group in August of last year.

Apparently Sony BMG will be experimenting with DRM-free downloads for around six months, the details of which will be released in the coming weeks and it will coincide with a Pepsi promotion that starts on the 3rd of February to give away one billion songs from all major labels.

The problem is, the first non-DRM tracks to be released will be for artists that sell less than 100,000 units, so making it about as useful as a chocolate teapot for most of us (regardless of how tasty that would be) and the cynic in me expects that it will likely end up being a marketing exercise about how "Sony BGM now offers DRM-free music".

Expect the DRM-free songs to be tagged like similar music is - with the purchasers details, so if they do get released onto the net the supplier can "easily" be caught. It's also another blow to Apples iTunes which has recently seen a spate of companies up and leave to alternatives when deals about how much should be charged for content couldn't be reached. With more music being sold online than ever before and this trend is continuing to grow - it could mean some turbulent times for the online media industry.

Do you buy online music or do you prefer something that actually gives a decent proportion of profits to recording artists and sounds like it actually should - a CD? Let us know your thoughts, in the forums
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