Amazon Will Launch DRM-Free Online Music Store

Digital Rights Management ruled out completely.

Once EMI broke record industry ranks by offering DRM free music last month (and Apple tried to claim the credit), iTunes rivals were always going to want a piece of the pie. This newbie however could want a very large piece indeed…

It is none other than online retail king Amazon, a monolith which has been touted to enter the online music download market for years. Like iTunes it has agreed a deal with EMI, but unlike iTunes it will ”only” sell – and therefore champion – DRM free music.

“Our MP3-only strategy means all the music that customers buy on Amazon is always DRM-free and plays on any device,” said Amazon founder, CEO and serious industry heavyweight Jeff Bezos. “We’re excited to have EMI joining us in this effort and look forward to offering our customers MP3s from amazing artists like Coldplay, Norah Jones and Joss Stone.”

Unfortunately Bezo’s words are about all we know so far with prices, availability/geographic availability and even bit rates (I presume 256kbps) all remaining up in the air. The bigger question in this move however isn’t these comparative trivialities but whether the choice of such a major Web institution to go exclusively DRM free will lend the additional weight required to force other label’s to follow EMI’s example. Or, by contrast, will Amazon simply end up looking silly selling music from just one record company?

I/we – in fact I feel safe is saying – the ”entire consumer global population” hope it’s the former…

Official Press Release

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