Sony caves on DRM

the last holdout, Sony, admits defeat:

In a move that would mark the end of a digital music era, Sony BMG Music Entertainment is finalizing plans to sell songs without the copyright protection software that has long restricted the use of music downloaded from the Internet, has learned. Sony BMG, a joint venture of Sony (SNE) and Bertelsmann, will make at least part of its collection available without so-called digital rights management, or DRM, software some time in the first quarter, according to people familiar with the matter.

Sony BMG would become the last of the top four music labels to drop DRM, following Warner Music Group (WMG), which in late December said it would sell DRM-free songs through’s (AMZN) digital music store. EMI and Vivendi’s Universal Music Group announced their plans for DRM-free downloads earlier in 2007.

Given this, what will Apple’s excuse be for maintaining DRM on the iPod? Attention Steve Jobs! Doesn’t music want to be free?

3 thoughts on “Sony caves on DRM”

  1. Apple doesn’t want DRM on the iPod. That was the point of Jobs’ essay. But Apple can’t put DRM-free content on the iTunes Store if the labels won’t sell it to them, and the labels are refusing to sell it to them.

  2. yes but now the labels are selling drm-free music elsewhere. so why not to apple?

    i suspect its due to the pricing flexibility that the labels want. Jobs wants the music to be as cheap as possible, so they act as loss leaders for the ipods themselves (where Apple has fat, fat margins). Amazon, which has no hardware to push or lock in, is more willing to let pricing be variable. Apple is clinging to drm to validate its business model, essentially. Thats opposite to the lofty ideals in Jobs’ letter.

  3. I really don’t get how you’re seeing Apple as the bad guy here. Apple wants music to be cheap. Apple wants music to be DRM-free. Apple isn’t “clinging to DRM ” — Apple is refusing to gouge its customers and being punished by the RIAA for that by not being allowed to have the DRM-free tracks it wants.

    In all honesty, I don’t see how you’re coming to the conclusion that the people who want to gouge us and take away our rights are the heroes and the people trying to stop them are the villains.

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