Today via a Business Week article, Sony announced plans to drop DRM and begin selling DRM-Free, Mp3 tracks in Amazon.com’s Mp3 Download store. This is the signal in the true death of DRM (Digital Rights Management).
Sony/BMG records was the final hold out for DRM-Free music after Warner announced in late December that they would be selling tracks on Amazon (I personally used that announcement to purchase the Juno movie soundtrack). With this, the four largest record companies are now DRM-Free and Amazon has successfully grown its product base considerably in the last 2-3 months of it’s Mp3 Store’s opening. This is partially due to the record labels wanting to get out from under Apple and it’s “restrictive pricing structures” (the record executives’ words, not mine, see my comments on this further down). However, I am all for the “whatever works” model of getting rid of DRM. If it means Apple is going to have to wait in line to get DRM free tracks, then so be it.
Now, as for iTunes’ “restrictive pricing structure” that the labels are complaining about, does anyone else find it funny that they are making a similar complaint to the consumers mantra against DRM? “It’s too restrictive” or “We can’t do what we want with the product we own” and it seems rather funny to me. I find it incredibly odd that the second they couldn’t do what they wanted, they found a way to get what they wanted (albeit to the customers advantage, in this case the removal of DRM). I guess this is typical human reasoning, “It’s okay when I do it to you, but the second you do it to me, I’m taking my ball and going home.”
Either way, the removal of DRM on music files is huge step forward and I can’t wait for the movie studios to catch on. Pity they came into the game a little late so they are a little behind on the reasoning road, but the fact that the top 4 record companies got rid of DRM, should send a huge message. Here’s hoping, right?