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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sony Misses the Point of DRM Free Downloads

Sony made an announcement last week that it will now sell DRM free music. However, they've managed to make it as unfriendly to consumers as possible. To obtain the Sony DRM free tracks, you have to first have to go to a retail store to buy a Platinum MusicPass, a card containing a secret code, for a suggested retail price of $12.99. Once you have scratched off the card's covering to expose the code, you will be able to download one of just 37 albums available through the service including Britney Spears' "Blackout" and Barry Manilow's "The Greatest Songs of the Seventies" (both universally recognized as among the 37 best albums of all time).

Almost no selection, a higher price point than iTunes and you have to show up to a store.

Amazon.com offers 2.9 million DRM-free tracks in MP3 format from:
EMI Group
Warner Music Group
Universal Music
Independent record labels

Apple's iTunes Store has around 2 million DRM-free albums for $9.99

I am not sure what Sony is thinking, but DRM-free distribution that requires people to go to a store to buy downloads is not a step forward. The Platinum MusicPass sounds like an over priced glorified gift card. Sony did state that online sales are part of their "ultimate plan" but have not released any further information.

Sony Listen Up:
If you wants to make real waves in the music industry you should consider something better than what everyone else is already offering. How about an online retail site where ALL Sony's music is DRM-free and users get to pay what they think the music is worth. Radiohead has proven that this model is workable for famous artists and Magnatune is making it work for new artists. I would be a lot more likely to open my wallet for that format!

InfoWorld with full Details on the Sony DRM free program

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