Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Death of Music DRM

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Digital rights management, the technology restricts how music and videos are used by people who pay to download, is on it's way to becoming history (for downloaded music at least). At MacWorld Expo keynote Apple's Phil Schiller announced that all ten million songs available for download from the iTunes Music Store will no longer have DRM restrictions.

Steve Jobs lead the charge against Digital Rights Management about this time last year when he called on the recording industry to drop the requirement for DRM restrictions on all purchased downloaded music. Initially only EMI music played ball with Apple and offered DRM free songs on the iTunes Music store for an extra thirty cents per song.

Other online stores had more success in getting big music to drop DRM from paid downloads. WalMart.com went DRM free back in the summer of 2008. Amazon started their MP3 store with no DRM restrictions from the first day.

Now that Apple is going DRM free, it will be interesting to see if they stay with the AAC format or will they go to MP3. Going over to MP3 would mean that any digital music player could play songs downloaded from iTunes. Would Apple dare to be that open? Do the words too good to be true come to mind? but then Zunes play nonencrypted DRM free AAC files. Ain't that to strange to be true!

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