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Amazon reveals DRM-free music store

updated 10:30 am EDT, Wed May 16, 2007

Amazon DRM-Free Store

Online retailer Amazon today announced the upcoming launch of a direct-download music store completely without digital rights management on its tracks, making it one of the few stores to offer music from multiple unrelated labels without the restrictions. Songs will be offered in the unguarded MP3 format, allowing users of Macs, Windows PCs, and most any operating system to download and play the songs regardless of the playback software. The choice also means that music bought through the store will play both on iPods as well as competing players such as the Zune or Creative's Zen series.

"Our MP3-only strategy means all the music that customers buy on Amazon is always DRM-free and plays on any device," bragged the company's founder, Jeff Bezos.

Importantly, Amazon adds, the store will also be one of the first to launch with the support of a major label. The online store will only be the second since the iTunes deal from EMI, which says that it will offer its entire catalog as MP3 files. "[Amazon's] arrival in the digital music market will offer even more consumer choice and will be a big advance in addressing the lack of interoperability which has frustrated many music fans," said EMI's head Eric Nicoli. Over 12,000 independent labels have also signed on to the as yet unnamed store, according to Amazon.

The lack of DRM as well as other major labels confirms earlier reports from the Times. The British publication had suggested las month that Amazon was determined to 'shake up' the music industry by opening a store without copy protection regardless of whether or not its collection would be as large as Apple's, which will still include protected tracks from Universal, Warner, and other holdouts.

Amazon hasn't outlined an opening date or a pricing system for the store, which is due to launch sometime later in the year. The company's Unbox video store is already active and sells both movies and TV shows with Windows Media protection.

by MacNN Staff




  1. dennisobell

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Change your graphic

    Hey MacNN: You might want to change your graphic, because it's misleading -- your screen cap shows an album by Sony BMG act Maroon5, and that's not one of the labels allowing DRM-free downloads on Amazon's launch. (According to other reports I'm seeing, it's just EMI -- same as Apple -- and some indie labels.)

  1. PookJP

    Joined: Dec 1969



    ... can you feel the wolves snapping at thy heels*?

    * 10 points for anyone who gets that reference!

  1. ianaberle

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iTunes Store Killer?

    The will be the first real challenge to the iTunes Store's domination of the digital music online sales. Unlike the many contenders, the lack of DRM, the universalness of MP3, and the Amazon name will truly show if online music sales is a viable alternative to CD. Hopefully, the competition will help the price for Apples own DRM-free music down to the 99 price and the DRM version to 79 or remove it all together.

    I know I will think twice about where I go to purchase my music online.

  1. ravedog

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Let's not forget that eventhough WalMart's tracks are unprotected, you cannot access their website to purchase this music unless you are on a Windows-based PC.

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