When Sony BMG announced its strategy for DRM-free music on Tuesday I couldn't believe it would take such a singular, bone headed approach. Thankfully, it wasn't.
News is filtering through at the butt-end of the week that Amazon has pulled off quite the coup and persuaded Sony BMG to offer DRM-free music on the 'Amazon MP3' service. The deal also makes Amazon MP3 the first online download service to have deals in place with all four major music labels for their DRM-free catalogues.
No exact details were given on pricing with Amazon only saying its existing songs are priced from 89c to 99c per track with albums ranging from $5.99 to $9.99. It is likely however that Sony BMG will have to tow the line.
"We are excited to offer Amazon MP3 customers DRM-free MP3s from SONY BMG, which represents many of the most popular musicians from the past and present," said Bill Carr, Amazon VP for Digital Music. "Our Amazon MP3 customers will be able to choose from a full selection of DRM-free music downloads from all four major labels and over 33,000 independents that they can play on virtually any music-capable device."
"We are excited to be working with Amazon as they continue to build new markets for digital music," commented Thomas Hesse, Present of Sony BMG in a far more sensible quote than the daft one he issued on Tuesday. "We are constantly exploring new ways of making our music available to consumers in the physical space, over the Internet and through mobile phones, and this initiative is the newest element of our ongoing campaign to bring our music to fans wherever they happen to be."
A loose launch timeframe of 'later this month' was given so - as is nearly always the case - expect actual availability at the very end, rather than the middle, of January.
My, Apple must be furious...