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.”