Sony BMG planning to drop DRM | iLounge News


Sony BMG planning to drop DRM

Sony BMG will become the last of the “big four” music labels to offer its music catalog without digital rights management, according to a BusinessWeek report. Citing people familiar with the matter, the report claims that the company is finalizing its plans, and will begin DRM-free sales sometime in the first quarter, possibly in concert with a Super Bowl promotion involving Sony artist Justin Timberlake, Pepsi, and Amazon. The promotion will kick off Feb. 3 and will offer free distribution of 1 billion songs from all of the major labels through Amazon’s DRM-free MP3 store. In an open letter penned last February, Apple CEO Steve Jobs called on the labels to abandon DRM. Following the letter’s publishing, EMI began DRM-free sales through several services, including the newly-launched iTunes Plus, only to be followed into DRM-free sales by Universal Music Group, who in August revealed plans to sell DRM-free tracks from several online retailers while excluding iTunes. In December, Warner Music Group made its catalog available through Amazon’s DRM-free MP3 service, while joining Universal in what appears to be a boycott of Apple’s own DRM-free iTunes Plus service. It is unclear whether Sony BMG plans to make its music available through iTunes Plus, or whether it will choose to join Warner and Universal by eschewing iTunes for the Amazon MP3 store.

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I bet Sony joins Universal and Warner in attempting to freeze out iTunes.  Wish they wouldn’t (a 100% DRM-free and 256kbps iTunes store would be awesome), but I expect they will.

Posted by dodo on January 4, 2008 at 11:30 AM (CST)


I want 256Kbps AAC files; I don’t want 90-technology MP3s.

Posted by Galley on January 4, 2008 at 12:17 PM (CST)



You should really do your research before you open your mouth because you just end up looking stupid.

AAC is as much a “90-technology” as MP3 is…

AAC was developed with the cooperation and contributions of companies including Dolby, Fraunhofer IIS, AT&T, Sony and Nokia, and was officially declared an international standard by the Moving Pictures Experts Group in April 1997.

Posted by guyone on January 4, 2008 at 1:33 PM (CST)



More important than the specific year is that AAC is the newer format and improves on MP3.

That aside - it’s highly unlikely that anyone can actually tell the difference at 256Kbps anyway.

So let’s just all get along rather than calling each other stupid and quoting trivia to back it up…

Posted by WhoCares? on January 4, 2008 at 1:57 PM (CST)


Ridiculous if they try to freeze out Apple. I’ll continue to shop for all my digital files on iTunes and iTunes only—restrictions or not. It’s so much more user-friendly.

Posted by bookcase on January 4, 2008 at 2:36 PM (CST)


@bookcase: to each their own.  I much prefer iTunes, but if I can find 256 kbps DRM-free MP3 files for cheaper than DRM-d 128 kbps AAC files, I’ll buy at Amazon.  I’ve tried Walmart too, but probably won’t be going back there since Amazon seems to have the same content and Walmart’s content is largely censored (gotta have my explicit lyrics) and I find the Amazon store to be a better experience than Walmart.

Posted by dodo on January 4, 2008 at 2:46 PM (CST)


I agree with “dodo”.  The iTunes store is great and I prefer to use iTunes to manage my music, but if someone else has the content I’m looking for…and at a cheaper price…and higher quality, then I’ll go there to buy it.

If iTunes wants an exclusive on my business, then put up what I want in the way I want it, otherwise, I’ll spread my money around, thanks very much.

Posted by shatnerfan on January 4, 2008 at 4:46 PM (CST)


I have nothing against Amazon itself except for the fact that it’s very awkward to use. Have you ever tried to search a popular song name on there compared to iTunes? It’s so easy to find what you’re looking for on iTunes, but it’s like pulling teeth on Amazon. I hope Amazon makes its interface much more user friendly.

Posted by urbanslaughter on January 4, 2008 at 6:41 PM (CST)


“I hope Amazon makes its interface much more user friendly.”

As sombody said “to each their own”, but when it comes to pay less, I don’t give a ____ if it takes longer to find what I want.

Posted by Zaci on January 4, 2008 at 10:50 PM (CST)


It’s a shame that the man who brought us DRM-free music first is losing out on the deal.  :/

I can see their point in moving to Amazon.  Amazon is not my favorite especially after TRYING to use Unbox.  That thing is the example that should be used as to why DRM is bad for everyone.

Amazon is selling the music in MP3 format which can be played on ALL the music devices.  I can just load it up on my iPod or someone else could bring it up on their Zune, Creative Labs players, etc.

The iPod will play on the new Zunes and CL players also, but the older players will benefit from Amazon’s MP3 also.

From a business standpoint, it makes a little sense.  But, the iPod holds so much of the market that you wonder why you want to make it harder for people to buy music?


Posted by daelin on January 5, 2008 at 1:44 PM (CST)


Hey guys. To me and probably a great deal of iPod lovers out there won’t even began to make DRM-free music a household name until someone else creates music management software as good as if not better than iTunes. What good would DRM-free music be if the software sucks, so stop arguing!

Posted by musicfan1 on January 6, 2008 at 6:16 PM (CST)


Good points concerning the Amazon store functionality.  It is still considered a beta, so hopefully they will revamped the site in the near future, especially with more labels jumping onboard.  It is a little difficult to find items for download, but I also don’t mind spending the time if they have what I want.

Posted by shatnerfan on January 7, 2008 at 1:49 PM (CST)

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