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Monster, Yahoo back Apple's call for DRM-free music

updated 03:45 am EST, Tue February 13, 2007

Monster backs Apple

Apple continues to recruit allies for its DRM-free music proposal in the most unlikely places. An exec for Yahoo! music, one of the top competitors to Apple's iTunes, says that removing DRM from music will boost sales. "I've long advocated removing DRM on music because there is already a lot of music available without DRM, and it just makes things complicated for the user," Dave Goldberg told Silicon Valley Watcher, noting that Yahoo Music has done experiments where it has offered music with or without DRM and that removing DRM boosts music sales. The exec also took a shot at Microsoft's DRM--used by Yahoo's digital music service--saying that it "doesn't work half the time." Monster Cable is yet another party taking sides in the DRM controversy triggered last week by Apple's chief: the manufacturer of high performance cables on Monday announced its full support of Jobs position asking labels to eliminate digital rights management (DRM) on their music libraries. [updated]

With support from its competitors such as Yahoo and SanDisk and EMI's interest in exploring DRM-free music, the letter was rejected by most major record labels (including Warner), the RIAA, Norway, and others as untenable solution the problem of music piracy. Apple faces growing pressure from European groups and governments to open its iPod/iTunes ecosystem, which is protected by its proprietary FairPlay DRM that limits playback of protected files.

"Monster Cable shares Mr. Jobs' vision of breaking constraints for legal music downloads," explained Noel Lee, The Head Monster. "We've always believed in the power of music. So much so, we launched Monster Music to introduce high definition surround to the world without restrictions."

The entertainment arm of Monster Cable, Monster Music boasts a format known as the SuperDisc, which not only contains high definition surround tracks but DRM-free files. The company reiterated its commitment to bring quality audio to the masses by saying it negotiated DRM Free files with Universal and their multi-platinum selling rock band 3 Doors Down to "insure the consumer could enjoy the music on any player, including Apple's iPod. 3 Doors Down and Universal agreed to allow DRM free digital music files on the SuperDisc release entitled, Away from the Sun, Live from Houston, Texas.

Other Monster Music SuperDiscs also feature DRM free music files, including Ray Charles' 2004 Grammy Album of the Year, Genius Loves Company.

"DRM is a complex and political issue, but digital music compatibility is even more complicated to consumers and limiting to the industry," Kevin Lee, head of Monster Music said. "We are proud to support an open format and leaders like Steve Jobs who are making the efforts to get us there."

by MacNN Staff





  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    subscription needs DRM

    Maybe thats another reason Apple didn't go into the subscription model (besides unreasonable extra server load), there has to be some sort of DRM in this system.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: subscription

    Maybe thats another reason Apple didn't go into the subscription model (besides unreasonable extra server load), there has to be some sort of DRM in this system.

    Um, since Apple already has DRM, its hard to argue that they didn't do subscriptions because of the need for DRM.

    And if Apple is allowed to go DRM free, will they release a tool to remove the DRM from all the music we've already bought?

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    jobs' 'f* you' to Uni?

    I wonder if part of the reason for Jobs' DRM-free letter was to hit back at Universal for trying to strong-arm Apple into giving them a buck for each iPod sold?

  1. Deal

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Don't abandon reason

    Apple would allow the DRM to be stripped if it doesn't breach some previous contract. If the music industry were to take a complete turnabout, they may want people to re-purchase their music, if they were to be greedy (and do you think they are greedy?).

    The subscription service idea is just stupid. Apple didn't choose it because they are not trying to bleed people like others. I hate bleeding money and I don't like to pay monthly for anything I don't have to. The richest person in the world is not the person with the most money, it's the person with the least needs. I do agree that removing DRM would definitely kill subscription services.

    As for an assault on Universal, as much as they deserve it for such an incredibly stupid public relations position, this is far from the reason of removing DRM. DRM is dumb, especially where music is concerned. Buy a CD and there is no DRM. Download it illegally and there is no DRM. Download it legally and DRM prevents you from easily using it all the ways you may want to. Burn it, rip it back and viola, DRM free music purchased legally.

    There is no point to having DRM on legally downloaded music. It's removable, it's hindering to the customer, sales and profits are less due to DRM.

    This just goes to show, how idiotic the music industry really is. Hopefully one of the companies will come to their senses and remove DRM. Then the ITMS and others will have to label the songs DRM or DRM FREE. Then the people can vote with their money and eventually all the music labels will gradually fold with the real winners being the companies who pioneered DRM free music.

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