Major labels begin offering tracks as unrestricted MP3s | iLounge News


Major labels begin offering tracks as unrestricted MP3s

After years of selling digital music with restrictive copy-protection technology, major music labels are beginning to make some songs available as unrestricted MP3 files. “The releases are part of an experiment to gauge demand for tracks that can be played on any digital music player capable of playing MP3s,” reports the Associated Press. “Normally, copy-protected tracks are only playable on certain devices. By selling MP3s, recording companies can ensure they can be played on Apple’s market-leading iPod players without going through Apple’s iTunes Music Store.” The latest unrestricted MP3 tracks come from singer Norah Jones and rock band Relient K, both signed to labels operated by Britain’s EMI Music. Their songs went on sale for 99 cents each this week on Yahoo’s online music service.

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I sure hope the same songs become available on iTunes in unprotected AAC format. MP3 is so ‘90s, but more importantly, that will prove that Apple isn’t using FairPlay encryption to lock people to iTunes/iPod. It would be a shame if they were, so please, let’s see these same songs unprotected in iTunes!

Posted by Ted Wood on December 7, 2006 at 11:24 AM (CST)


This is annoying.

The article is misleading to those not tech savvy enough to realize that unprotected AAC files (MP4) can be sold as well, with better quality. (eh, just ask allofmp3!)

And despite a huge misconception, AAC is not a Apple proprietary formet. My 3 year old Sony Ericsson phone can play AAC files….

Posted by AgingGeek on December 7, 2006 at 11:28 AM (CST)


I don’t think it’s that misleading.  It doesn’t delve into the differences between file formats, true, but it’s really focusing on “resticted” vs. “unrestricted,” which is really where player compatibility comes into play.  AAC may not be proprietary, but the copy protection, be it iTunes, Microsoft, or other, is, and that’s what prevents songs from being played in different products.  In any case, I see this as a potentially positive move for the industry, or at least for the consumer.  Offering unrestricted mp3s (or AACs) is counter to the alarming trend of trying to sell you the same content over and over again for every device you want to use with the content.  I hope this is the first step in reversing that trend.

Posted by Mr. E. on December 7, 2006 at 12:12 PM (CST)


“MP3 is so 90s” ???

Wow.  Apple’s marketing really works on some people.

Anyway, I will be buying these tracks for one reason only: to show support for the idea.  MORE of this and less DRM, please.

Posted by stark23x on December 7, 2006 at 12:17 PM (CST)


It’s all about loosening iTunes’ grip on digital music sales first and foremost. The fact it looks like the labels are throwing the customers a bone is just an added PR benefit. I’m suspicious.

Posted by Laer on December 7, 2006 at 12:18 PM (CST)


“MP3 is so 90s” ???
Well i download mp3’s from emusic and they sound fine,true with AAC files you can can get the same quality at a lower bit rate but the end result of a slightly higher bit rate mp3 file is hardly huge,anyway i use and enjoy both formats.

Posted by Steven on December 7, 2006 at 12:59 PM (CST)


I only have protected AAC files, everyone knows having unprotected AAC is risky.

Posted by mike on December 7, 2006 at 1:04 PM (CST)


I’m with stark23x.  The feels like a potential turning point in the digital audio revolution.  These labels need to know that I am willing to pay for music, but not if I am locked into how and where I can play it.  This is one movement I’ll spend 99 cents to support even if I don’t like the music they’re offering.  If you all do the same, maybe we can finally make some headway in a digital world where the consumer has a choice.

Posted by jeff on December 7, 2006 at 1:22 PM (CST)


I would have bought the tracks just to support unrestricted music being sold, but then I got to the download page.

$.99 for 128kbps, $1.25 for 320k.

What?  I have to pay extra for music that doesn’t have bad sound quality.  Give me a break.

Posted by Paul on December 7, 2006 at 2:01 PM (CST)


on a side note, I can now happily buy EMI CDs again. From 2003 (I think) up until a few months ago, every EMI CD released in New Zealand (and Australia as well, I think) had EMI’s infernal “copy control” technology on it. Now, I own a Mac, and iTunes can happliy get around this technology, but personally I refused to buy into a system which tried to control how I listened to a CD I shelled out perfectly good money. Anyway, the system has been quietly dropped, and I can now buy new-release EMI CDs without anger or annoyance.

Posted by Lawrence Mikkelsen on December 7, 2006 at 2:15 PM (CST)


To hell with unprotected this or that. Jeebus, just buy the damned CD. You’ll be paying the same or less for the best commercially available fidelity.

Posted by Pikemann_Urge on December 7, 2006 at 2:50 PM (CST)


lol good one mike.

Posted by mrfett on December 7, 2006 at 2:56 PM (CST)


Are Music Company execs ACTUALLY getting a clue?? Wow! Never thought this would happen IN MY LIFETIME!

Posted by ahMEmon on December 7, 2006 at 3:07 PM (CST)


I just think it’s funny that the only thing that could have ever driven music companies to do this is their hatred for Apple. heh

Posted by jarofchris on December 7, 2006 at 3:17 PM (CST)


They have something up their sleeve I think.  I wonder how they intend to spin this one.

Posted by Steve Jobs on December 7, 2006 at 3:33 PM (CST)


and if this ever gets off the ground, goodbye iTunes, for me atleast.

Posted by me lol on December 7, 2006 at 3:41 PM (CST)


Until they offer lossless audio there is no point downloading music from iTunes or Yahoo or whatever.  I mean the records arn’t even mixed in the studio for mp3 so what’s the point.  The record companies have a long way to go, DRM or no DRM.

Posted by Andrew on December 7, 2006 at 7:52 PM (CST)


My take on this is rather cynical.  I think this is a clear attempt by the cigar-chomping music execs to loosen the control of Apple.  Right now Apple has the download market almost all to itself.  The music execs have long wanted to increase prices and rip people off - again.  However, they cannot really do this because Apple currently has the power, through market dominance, to hold the music execs at bay.  If the music execs can loosen the grip of iTunes they can then reimpose their desired pricing structure upon the market.

Posted by Obadiah on December 8, 2006 at 10:22 AM (CST)

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