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7digital DRM-Free Sales Skyrocket

Gordon Kelly


7digital DRM-Free Sales Skyrocket

We already knew DRM-free sales were destroying DRM-infested ones by a ratio of 4:1 and now 7digital, the UK's first DRM-free only site, is reaping even more benefits after snagging Warner Music...

Following the March deal which saw 7digital beat iTunes to become the first DRM-free Warner Music retailer, sales are up a staggering 300 per cent in the first half of 2008 making it the UK's second largest online music store. Another feather in its cap also saw 7digital become the UK's biggest DRM-free MP3 seller of the new Coldplay album 'Viva la Vida' beating HMV, Play.com, Tesco, Woolworths and Napster (iTunes was the leading digital retailer but still refuses to sell the MP3 format).

"It is now clear that MP3 downloads represent the future for digital music," said Ben Drury, CEO of 7digital.com. "With two of the four major labels now supporting MP3 in the UK, we expect to see the whole market supporting MP3 in the not-too-distant future."

This is an interesting last comment from Drury since we hear on the grapevine 7digital will complete a major coup by landing DRM-free deals for both Sony BMG and Universal - the remaining two of the so-called 'Big Four' record labels - in the near future. This would give it a major one-up on iTunes and also a head start on Amazon MP3 which also has DRM-free deals in place with the Big Four but has yet to launch in the UK.

A classic case of the little guy making good? It's increasingly looking that way...



Simon Dyson

July 8, 2008, 5:59 pm

7digital should be applauded for this move but I don't find their prices competitive enough compared to the CD market. The latest Coldplay album is &#1637.49. I can get the physical CD and rip the MP3s myself for &#1638.95 (inc. postage) from Play. To me the &#1631.46 saving is not worthwhile when I can get the higher quality CD and then rip it to what ever digital formats and bitrates I please.

Andy Vandervell

July 8, 2008, 6:07 pm

Therein lies the problem with all these services. Digital distribution is pretty moot if it doesn't provide the flexbility a digital medium is supposed to. It's very annoying.


July 8, 2008, 7:13 pm

depends what bitrate you want Simon - 7digital does offer far higher bitrates than iTunes.

Simon Dyson

July 8, 2008, 9:21 pm

I don't necessarily want higher - I want selection. Everybody's needs are different. For example I may want smaller bitrates to fit more onto an MP3 player.

Digital distribution cuts out a lot of costs including manufacturing, transport and retail so the saving for the consumer (who is essentially receiving an inferior product) should be greater than &#1631.46.


July 22, 2008, 2:43 pm

Wake up Gordon, iTunes Plus offers the same higher bitrate but with the later codec (2 generations & 14 years later) giving it the equivalent of 384kbps of MPEG1/MP3 and practically all modern players play MPEG4/AAC.

Why is the general public being fooled into buying the digital audio equivalent of the Video CD (MPEG1) when they should be investing in the equivalent of Blu-ray (MPEG4) just incase they might want to trade their iPod in for that other oh-so-popular music player?


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