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...

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
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