Warner Music Group has announced they’re getting rid of DRM on digital music.

According to this article at ArsTechnica.com the folks at Warner Music Group have just announced DRM-less MP3s will soon be available via Amazon.com’s new music service:

The announcement means that EMI, Universal, and Warner now offer their catalogues in DRM-free digital formats, making Sony BMG (of rootkit fame) the lone holdout among the majors. Amazon now claims to offer for than 2.9 million songs in MP3 format from over 33,000 unique labels.

Warner’s announcement says nothing about offering its content through other services such as iTunes, and represents the music industry’s attempt to make life a bit more difficult for Apple after all the years in which the company held the keys to music’s digital kingdom; no one could sell major label tracks to iPod owners except for iTunes, and iTunes even become a go-to destination for non-iPod owners who wanted a simple, cheap way to pick up some songs. Now, with the move to MP3, the labels that have chosen to open their music have a way to encourage multiple download services to flourish, keeping labels safe from being dominated by any single digital distributor.

The article goes on to say that it looks like Sony may follow suit sometime in 2008. This is a major victory for consumers of digital music, but will movies be next?

2 thoughts on “Warner Music Group has announced they’re getting rid of DRM on digital music.

  1. It would be great if movies were next to dump the DRM, but I don’t see it happening any time soon.  They’re too focused on trying to win their petty format wars to notice what the consumer wants.

    Music being DRM-less is a big step in the right direction, but having alienated so many of it’s fans it’s going to require some really good publicity and an aggressive pricing model to woo back so many of it’s customers that they have alienated over the past 10 years, if not longer.

    I ended up getting into small indie bands & classical music.  Most the music I purchase now is from small indie sites offering their own music on the cheap <$8 for a lot of their albums.  Of course it helps that I’m really not a fan of what’s being commercially pushed through clearchannel stations and whatever version of MTV that plays music nowadays.  Then again maybe I’ve turned into one of those really annoying pretentious music snobs…

  2. And what, then, about games?

    I bought and installed Bioshock before I learned of its unfortunately awful DRM. Had I known before I had installed it, I would have not bought it/returned it. (That said, it was a hell of a lot of fun.)

    I have a friend whose 360 had a meltdown almost a year ago and he’s been completely unable to access the almost $500 of online content that he purchased. Microsoft has been no help in allowing him to retain his digital property. They’re more concerned with DRM than customer satisfaction.

    Gamers are, by and large, shackled by companies and their ridiculous DRM. I mean, has anybody actually read a EULA? They’re pretty goddamned absurd. I find myself yearning for the days of Sierra On-Line, where there were no EULAs and the copy protection was token at worst and an integral and interesting part of the game’s atmosphere at best (King’s Quest VI, anyone?). And they made money hand-over-fist until Ken Williams sold the company and fucked everything up.

    I’ve read a few game journalists who have predicted that the next generation of consoles will function entirely through digital delivery. That’s a scary thought in a world where DRM routinely bars people from utilizing legitimate purchases (even hard copies).

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