Can Universal Lure You Away From iTunes With DRM-Free Music?

Aug 10th, 2007 | By | Category: General

Universal Music Group plans to test selling digital music free of digital rights management (DRM)….but not through Apple’s iTunes music store.

Tracks from thousands of albums will be available for purchase on the recording artists’ Web sites and through several established online music retailers, but not iTunes.

“Clearly the handwriting is on the wall for DRM-protected content,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Jupiter Research. “We are seeing more of the players fall as they recognize that it’s just a hassle for the consumer and doesn’t really help the piracy problem.”

By excluding iTunes from its test, Universal is looking to undermine Apple’s hold on the online music market, Gartenberg said.

“There’s no doubt these guys are poking a stick at Apple,” he said.

“Universal Music Group is committed to exploring new ways to expand the availability of our artists’ music online, while offering consumers the most choice in how and where they purchase and enjoy our music,” said Universal Music Chairman and CEO Doug Morris.

Universal plans to price DRM-free tracks the same as DRM’d tracks sold at iTunes. The question now is whether or not removing DRM is enough to lure people away from iTunes, the number one digital music service.

No Responses to “Can Universal Lure You Away From iTunes With DRM-Free Music?”

  1. Bill Shirley says:

    Even with the token stick in Apple’s direction, the availability of non-DRM music will greatly weaken the music industry’s argument that it’s necessary.

    I bet less than 12 months before Universal’s music is available on iTunes DRM-free.

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