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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Wow you anti-Sony posters are funny
By Serafina on 1/8/2008 1:36:45 PM , Rating: -1
First you complain about Sony and their DRM, and now when Sony takes it away you again complain. It can never be enough for you.

Sony is doing the right thing, why don't you just continue using i-tunes if you don't like it. At least Sony isn't forcing you to buy stuff like Microsoft is.

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...

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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