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Yahoo! calls for DRM-free music

updated 09:25 am EDT, Fri July 21, 2006

DRM-free music from Yahoo!

Yahoo! is continuing to hope that labels will heed its call for DRM-free music, as it releases its first set of tracks in the MP3 format--without any DRM attached-- allowing users to purchase a personalized version of the new Jessica Simpson song "A Public Affair" from Yahoo! Music's Web Site for $1.99. While the price for the track, available for a large variety of personal names, is higher than the $0.99 charged by iTunes, the music is available in a format that can be played on any player, according to the company: "Dear digital consumer, even if you're not into Jessica Simpson, and you're not excited about spending $2 for a song, let me tell you, this is a bigger deal than you might think." Yahoo! has been publicly lobbying to convince record labels that they should be selling MP3s, saying that DRM doesn't add any value for the artist, label, or consumer--and noting that DRM-free music is sold everyday on CDs. [corrected]

The blog continues by saying that DRM only helps technology companies lock consumers into a particular platform, alluding to Apple's own iPod/iTunes ecosystem which has dominated online digital music. iTunes has over 85 percent marketshare in the US, according to recent market research numbers. The blog argues that DRM has a high cost--resources that could be channeled elsewhere.

"[DRM] is very expensive for companies like Yahoo! to implement. 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!" the blog reads.

"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."

by MacNN Staff



  1. umijin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Free people first

    Although I also hate DRM, I'd prefer that Yahoo frees the people, supposed dissidents, it turned into the Chinese government in the past 3 years.

  1. Ilgaz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    April 1?

    Here are some pages of the company which advocates DRM free, ordinary formats such as Mp3.

    It makes me bitterly laugh when I see them trying to compete iTunes in Apple land.

    Check and smile:

    (notice .asp, it is not a co-incidence!)

    Pasting text: "We regret that Yahoo! Music videos are not currently supported for Macintosh. We are exploring ways to offer video on additional platforms, and hope you'll check back as we make enhancements to the service."

    Wonder why? I tell it simple: Their media division is puppet of Microsoft and their lame Wmedia division who invented NOTHING but got popular thanks to monopoly/duopoly practices like that.

    If Yahoo media division says something, consider it coming from microsoft.

    just like MTV

  1. ajhoughton

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This is just populist grandstanding. ISPs and "Internet Companies" like Yahoo don't have to worry about copyright infringement since that's not how they make their money. What's more, a lot of them (ISPs particularly) are engaged in the cynical practice of advertising to consumers the fact that their faster connections are great for illegal file sharing, and turning a blind eye to illegal activity going on over their networks.

    Maybe DRM isn't great, but short of levying a charge on the ISPs for the illegal activities of their users, nothing else is going to make much of a dent in the level of illegal distribution via file sharing and piracy websites.

  1. siMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    MP3 sucks.

    I don't want a ten year-old format anyway. I shop at an online store where I can buy my music AAC encoded, and I'm not talking about iTunes.

    It's about choice people. I don't want to have DRM-free MP3 files forced on me anymore than I want DRM'd AAC files forced on me.

  1. siMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    oh yeah...

    ...and Yahoo! are tools.

  1. frankt1950

    Joined: Dec 1969


    what a joke

    Yahoo makes this sound like some sort of breakthrough in digital music sales and the start of a revolution. It is one crappy song by one crappy performer for $2. Oh, boy, it is "personalized" just for me. Just the thing one would want to share with friends or burn to disk. I would rather stick pencils in my ears than hear Jessica Simpson screech out a tune.

    This is nothing more than a marketing ploy to get people to hook into their subscription services. They can't compete with Apple iTunes and this is the best they can do to fight back? How lame can it get? And is an MP3 song worth twice as much without DRM when everyone already knows how to find or create much better quality music on their own?

    There is no way they will get major music labels to release all of their catalogs to be sold in this format, and even suggesting so is misleading. Also, no one will pay $2 per song in MP3 format when a purchased CD costs less than that per song and the music is in full AIFF quality and can be copied under fair use statutes. This will blow away faster than a f*** in a hurricane.

  1. Ilgaz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    there is a company

    EMusic is backed by Universal and they offer pure mp3. We see what happens: Only independent bands, no "popular" music or no "latest releases".

    That is what happens when DRM not used. Also yes, mp3 stinks especially for low band (bass)

    If Yahoo somehow magically enlightened, let them offer no strings attached .ogg files and sponsor large hardware/chip companies to add .ogg to their firmware.

    That is the way to go Yahoo, do it :)

    I don't _hate_ Yahoo, I just hate their always bribed by microsoft media division and their lame games.

  1. jimothy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    ogg is for hippies.

  1. Albert

    Joined: Dec 1969


    truth to power

    all music should be free

    mp3's are not music just tyranny, krap quality

    even CDs' were poor, vinyl was bad, cassettes a joke,

    AAC is the first 'high quality format' ever but even it can be improved.

    concert tickets should be $7 not $375

    blame tony soprano and his thugs

    these are the wise guys who first figured out how to hyjack the music concert industry by using a 'ticket scalping network'; where do you think Apple got its business model from??

    now look what they've done to health care HMO's

    it criminal

    whats' up ther' sleeves next??

    Sad to say that since the gov'ts have control over election results and they've already spent your social security ca$h on wars against everyone, the fools are the people and are only chance is too replace gov't entirely with 'global free internet services' based on DRMs that cant be hyjacked by the boys.

    Why doesnt' both msft and aapl do independent 'free' work for the people like independent voting confirmations and publishing of the criminal activititys going on in the capitol crime wave thats steeling your country away and bilding around you a large cage!!

    Lets' put a DRM on our voting system so the peoples' votes can be trusted!!

    Then we can remove congress and vote on everything as 'we the people', believe me folks this is a very possible future use of a now very proven technology!!

    Watch DRMs save the world and promote a true democracy...

  1. Ilgaz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I don't like Ogg and fans

    Well, I say if Yahoo has become "enlightened" somehow in 1 day to support non-drm music and open (!) formats as mp3, they should support .ogg.

    That is how much I take their "manifesto" serious :)

    Ogg is a nice format, if their zealots and no life geek supporters didn't exist.

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