One off moment or the beginning of a brave (and liberating) new era?
In this DRM obsessed world Yahoo has taken the unusual step of releasing a DRM-free downloadable audio track. What? Where? Why? When?
The song is question is ‘A Public Affair’ by the wonderfully air brained de-Lachey-ed visual candy better known as Jessica Simpson and at $1.99 will cost roughly twice the price of a typical DRM laden file. It comes in the open MP3 format, includes a personalisation feature for up to 500 names and can be nabbed here.
Now tempted as I am to suggest the motivation behind this move is Jessica Simpson’s pop career needs all the help it can get right now, what is really interesting behind this move is ”why?” Well, dig a little deeper and something rather interesting emerges.
Yahoo Music is offering the rights free track in conjunction with Jess’s record label: a certain Sony BMG. This is the malcontent behind last year’s DRM protected CD scandle which provoked so many lawsuits that rival labels all backed out on plans to make their own versions. Clearly a change is in the air.
What I would suggest Sony BMG has learnt in the last few months is that only Apple benefits from DRM. If everyone uses an iPod then who cares if you can’t play the tracks on anything else? By contrast, should you be a smaller market player and slap DRM on a track which means it can’t later be used on a ubiquitous iPod then you’re only hurting yourself.
Of course this may all change once Microsoft lumps its considerable weight behind its impending Zune player but for now it suggests Apple rivals are feeling the heat and testing out alternative angles. Then again, didn’t we know that already…?