Print 14 comment(s) - last by kelmon.. on Jan 9 at 2:36 AM

Another nail in DRM's coffin

Less than a year after the death of Sony BMG’s ill-fated and DRM-laden CONNECT service, an anonymous Sony official in Tokyo leaked word of a new Sony music store, called Platinum MusicPass.

Speaking to the Associated Press, the official said that the new store is set to open on January 15 in the United States, and later in January for Canada. Interestingly, Sony BMG has no plans to open similar stores in other countries, including Japan.

Sony traditionally resisted DRM-free music, due to fears of widespread piracy and the influence of its music and movie publishing arms. For the CONNECT music store, Sony combined DRM with its proprietary ATRAC compression format, of which it has phased out. The move to DRM-free MP3 files will allow Sony to access the overwhelmingly large iPod userbase, which less than a year ago was almost exclusively limited to iTunes for most music.

Meanwhile, an official press release was posted to, and it provides a detailed description of how Platinum MusicPass will work: retail stores will offer “a series of digital album cards” that will unlock a “high-quality” MP3 download of the album at the MusicPass web site. The suggested retail price of these cards is set at $12.99, and includes the full album as well as bonus material, if available. In the United States, digital album cards will be available on the January 15 launch date at Best Buy, Target, and Fred’s stores.

“We see MusicPass as a great way to bring digital music to the physical retail space,” said Thomas Hesse, president of Sony BMG’s Global Digital Business & U.S. Sales division. “We believe it will have strong appeal for a broad range of consumers, and that it will ultimately expand both the digital and physical markets for music.”

The initial MusicPass launch includes 37 different albums, including music from Elvis Presley, Britney Spears, Bob Dylan, and Celine Dion. Two of the launch albums will also be available in a $20 Extended MusicPass card, which will allow consumers to “receive the complete album and bonus material, plus the choice of one additional album from that same artist's rich catalog of recordings.”

With all of the different DRM-free music stores either open or on the way, it appears that the reign of copy-protected music is drawing to a close.

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Only Sony...
By kelmon on 1/8/2008 6:57:34 AM , Rating: 5
OK, that Sony is abandoning DRM should be applauded (with a sense of "about time") but only Sony could come up with such a stupid way of doing it. The theory is obvious - get the customers to go to a store to buy the cards and hope they'll buy some CDs that Sony seem to think are still relevant. The problem here is that no one who wants a digital download version of Sony's music are going to go to the store so that they can download it - it defies the whole point.

Mind you, this can work a bit for gift but it's awfully shortsighted.

RE: Only Sony...
By Brockway on 1/8/2008 7:20:45 AM , Rating: 4
I don't want to go to the store to buy a card to download music in my home. It has to be able to use credit card, the idea is just too stupid otherwise.

Also, picture needs more Milla Jovavich.

RE: Only Sony...
By mmntech on 1/8/2008 8:46:59 AM , Rating: 2
Now if Sony was smart, they'd sell the albums through the Playstation Store. Sony's a bit slow though.

I think the idea behind it is for people who don't have credit cards, such as teens, could buy music. It's similar to the iTunes prepaid cards you can buy at the corner store. Still, as the others said, it's a clumsy way of doing it.

RE: Only Sony...
By Schadenfroh on 1/8/2008 9:23:04 AM , Rating: 2
Sony is a bit occupied with the format war, hopefully they will focus on the console war when (if) they win the BluRay versus HD-DVD thing.

I know my PS3 is itching for some attention from Sony, other than being regarded only as a ace in the format war as a blu-ray player.

RE: Only Sony...
By Arribajuan on 1/8/2008 12:00:33 PM , Rating: 2
And the point of buying mp3 songs is exactly that... buy an mp3 song. Most of the time you just want one or two songs, not a full album for 12.something.

mp3 song distribution is about the choice you have to get the tracks you want.

Making you buy the full album on the store, and going back home and downloading it is just plain stupid, inconvenient and rips choice from you.

Given that scheme it is more convenient to just buy the cd...

It is sad that sony just does not get it. They jump to the DRM free bandwagon with a flawed plan and when they fail, they will bitch about piracy or whatever other excuse they can think of.

Problem: Sony DRM (Bad)
Reaction: Sony ditches DRM (Great!)
Solution: Inconvenient in everyway!!! Bad, stupid idea.

Just when I thought I could expect better from them... Damn...

By happyfirst on 1/8/2008 8:46:18 AM , Rating: 5
Leave it to sony to come up with the dumbest way possible to do it. I've never used iTunes. I used yahoo music for a while. Now, I'm amazon all the way. It just couldn't be easier. I click, I get, I listen on WHATEVER I want

Songs no longer sell albums
By pomaikai on 1/8/2008 10:38:41 AM , Rating: 5
People are buying songs online not albums. This is just another way to force the consumers to buy songs that are crap. Why pay 12.99 for an album when you can just get the one or two songs you like much cheaper. With the old method the radio plays one song from an artist so people rush out to drop $12-15 to buy the CD. Now days the radio plays a song from an artist and people go online and pay less than one dollar for that song.

Songs no longer sell albums. Songs sell songs and Good albums sell albums.

$12.99 an Album?
By McFatty on 1/8/2008 11:42:50 AM , Rating: 2
Am I the only one who thinks these download prices are ridiculous? The cost of shipping, storage, and the medium itself have all been eliminated, and we're still expected to pay roughly the same price?

Not to mention music by Elvis and the like have LONG since made their profits. Getting rid of DRM is great, but their pricing remains outrageous.

RE: $12.99 an Album?
By bigbrent88 on 1/8/2008 5:14:45 PM , Rating: 2
What happened to the album? I mean, the point of an album is a branch of ideas and most are good, there may not be all great songs on an album but isnt a couple bucks worth having a complete artistic thought?

I take from everyone complaining about albums that people just listen to crap music or hit music. I get DRM free music from, $10 a month for 30 songs, great indie bands that make great albums in every music genre and the money goes almost directly to them, not the fat cats at the studios. Pretty much gave up on the radio 2 years ago when I started online d/ls!! In Rainbows FTW

By h0kiez on 1/8/2008 8:32:47 AM , Rating: 3
Lol...imagine if iTMS or the Zune Marketplace launched with 37 albums. Good luck with that Sony.

Wow you anti-Sony posters are funny
By Serafina on 1/8/08, Rating: -1
By h0kiez on 1/8/2008 3:07:21 PM , Rating: 1
So Sony drops DRM and we should hail them for their generosity and pay any price they want? Negative.

Microsoft is forcing me to buy what exactly?

You're an idiot, and your argument sounds like it was thought up by a 9 year old.

By pomaikai on 1/8/2008 4:42:38 PM , Rating: 2
I could careless how much or how little money sony makes. Removing DRM is a step forward, but they are trying to force you to buy stuff you dont want. I have alot of CDs that I bought for one song. They are still trying to sell the whole album whether you like every song or not. When an album was introduced it was more economical to put 15 songs on an album because of the cost to create and distribute the medium. There is no advantage anymore to selling songs as an album instead of by song. Sony knows that they wont make as much money because very few people will buy the entire album anymore.

By kelmon on 1/9/2008 2:36:00 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously, if you were going to start selling DRM-free music, is this the way that you'd choose? No one else has done it this way for a reason - it's madness. Pretty much everyone else has at least started selling DRM-free MP3 a-la-carte via Amazon so why would Sony not choose at least this mechanism?

Needless to say that I will continue to use iTunes since that at least works in a way that I want. I'm glad that I have your approval to do so otherwise I'm not sure how I'd live with myself...

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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