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Friday, January 11, 2008
Amazon to Sell Sony's DRM-free Music


Amazon.com Inc said on Thursday its digital music store will now offer songs from Sony BMG Music Entertainment without digital rights management technology.

Amazon said the deal makes it the first retailer to offer customers DRM-free songs from all four major music companies in the MP3 format.

"We are excited to offer Amazon MP3 customers DRM-free MP3s from SONY BMG, which represents many of the most popular musicians from the past and present," said Bill Carr, Amazon.com Vice President for Digital Music. "Our Amazon MP3 customers will be able to choose from a full selection of DRM-free music downloads from all four major labels and over 33,000 independents that they can play on virtually any music-capable device."

Earlier this week, Sony BMG became the last of the four major music companies to start selling its digital songs without copy protection with the launch of its MusicPass service. Napster also followed Sony BMG with a smilar announcement.

One of the issues for music companies in 2007 was whether dropping DRM protection would help drive digital music sales.

Limitations imposed by DRM prevent a user from playing a digital song on an incompatible PC or portable media player. Music companies had originally required digital music retailers use DRM to prevent customers from making multiple copies or sharing songs with friends for free. Amazon's MP3s will be playable on PCs, Macs, iPod, Zune, Zen, iPhone, RAZR and BlackBerry. Users will also be able to burn downloadeble songs to CDs for personal use.

Launched in September 2007, Amazon MP3 offers a wide selection of a la carte DRM-free MP3 music downloads, which now includes over 3.1 million songs from more than 270,000 artists. Most songs available on Amazon MP3 are priced from 89 cents to 99 cents. The top 100 bestselling songs are 89 cents, unless marked otherwise. Most albums are priced from $5.99 to $9.99. The top 100 bestselling albums are $8.99 or less.

EMI, the number four music company in market share, became the first major company to drop DRM in April. It was soon followed by Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group.


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