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Yahoo eyeing unrestricted MP3 downloads

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Thursday, July 20, 2006
News Categories: Digital Media

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Yahoo wants to offer music downloads without copy protection, according to recent comments made by company executives. “We’ve been publicly trying to convince record labels that they should be selling MP3s for a while now,” Ian Rogers, a director of product management at Yahoo, said on the official Yahoo Music blog this week. “Our position is simple: DRM (digital rights management) doesn’t add any value for the artist, label (who are selling DRM-free music every day—the Compact Disc), or consumer, the only people it adds value to are the technology companies who are interested in locking consumers to a particular technology platform.” Rogers’ comments on DRM come in an announcement for a new Jessica Simpson song that can be personalized with your own name. The song costs $1.99 and is an unrestricted MP3 file when purchased and downloaded.

Rogers goes on to say that DRM is costly for online music stores and is of no benefit to the consumer. “We’ve also been saying that DRM has a cost. It’s very expensive for companies like Yahoo! to implement,” he said. “We’d much rather have our engineers building better personalization, recommendations, playlisting applications, community apps, etc, instead of complex provisioning systems which at the end of the day allow you to burn a CD and take the DRM back off, anyway! And on the consumer end there is certainly some discount built into that $0.99 download for the fact that you can burn a limited number of times, can’t play it on your Squeezebox, can’t DJ it with your DJ software, and can’t make a movie out of it with iMovie? I certainly hope so. Un-DRM’d content is implicitly more valuable to a consumer.”

In February at the Music 2.0 conference, Yahoo Music’s General Manager, Dave Goldberg, urged record labels to consider selling music without copy protection. Goldberg said DRM henders consumer usage and pointed to eMusic as a successful online store selling unrestricted MP3 downloads. A Yahoo spokeswoman said that Goldberg was “trying to move the industry forward,” and wanted to prompt discussion “about what the consumer experience is.”

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Comments

21

You can play iTunes music in WinAmp. There’s a plugin for it somewhere on the forums.

Personally, I wish they would implement something like this. I don’t regularly buy music off iTunes, but sometimes artists release digital-only tracks/EPs that many times I can only buy from iTunes (or a similar service) and man, it burns me up.

Posted by Devil Neville on July 21, 2006 at 6:33 AM (PDT)

22

It’s OFFICIAL…Yahoo! and Sony have announced DRM-FREE MP3 downloads.

Engadget Story

Only catch…downloads are $1.99 per song. Sony’s going to get their piece of flesh one way or another.

Posted by flatline response on July 21, 2006 at 8:06 AM (PDT)

23

Everyone knows you can rip your own CDs, I think everyone who owns an iPod knows this.  So everyone who keeps saying that the best way to get around DRM MP3s is to simply buy the CD is not some messiah. We know.  Here’s the thing, sometimes you don’t want to buy the whole CD and no amount of bargain hunting will get you the single track cheaper than by buying it online.  Also some online stores like iTunes have been given access to out of print catalogs.  Unless you plan on paying a premium for these old tracks from a collector you’re S.O.L.

If you don’t like to pay for MP3s fine but don’t assume everyone else is an idiot for doing so.  That’s like telling someone it’s a waste of money to buy a TV show on DVD since it’s free on TV.

Posted by df57 on July 21, 2006 at 9:20 AM (PDT)

24

>How exactly are they going to get the
>subscription model to work without DRM,
>implement an honor system? I believe the
>original Napster showed that this doesn’t
>work.

Actually, this would actually work for me. Not because I am “honorable” to follow the honor system, but because a subscription service for non-DRMed music would be something worth subscribing to ad-infinitium, whereas a subscription for DRM-junk makes me sick.

Posted by Countach on July 23, 2006 at 7:03 AM (PDT)

25

Devil Neville, I tried searching in the forums but none of my search strings could turn up a plugin that would let you play music downloaded through iTunes in WinAmp.  There are AAC decoder plugins but they only work on files with no DRM.  JHymn was supposed to be able to strip DRM from iTunes files but it no longer works.

Posted by phennphawcks on July 24, 2006 at 4:41 AM (PDT)

26

DF57,
Your point is valid. I guess I am just old school. I like to listen to whole albums and am usually not too interested in the “hot single” of the day. Non DRM is the only way to go, regardless. iTunes stinks.

Posted by ptzink on July 24, 2006 at 6:16 AM (PDT)

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