Will the RIAA authorize DRM-free online music in 2007?

3 01 2007

In a Yahoo news article, Antony Bruno predicts that in 2007 the major music labels will get the message to sell their songs in DRM-free MP3s.  I sure hope they do!  DRM is bad.  Not only does it make your music less usable, it makes it less portable.  Currently, if I buy a song from iTunes and want to put it on a non-iPod MP3 player, I can’t.  The alternative is burning a CD then ripping it into MP3, which they don’t want you to do, and it’s more hassle than I should have to do.  But the problem is not just iTunes — almost all digital music retailers use their own exclusive form of DRM, which is compatible only with the MP3 players they sell.

I hope they can resolve this, because buying music online is a really convenient feature.  It’s easier than shopping in a store, you can shop from home, and you don’t have to pay for songs you don’t want.  The latter reason is really great.  I don’t mind paying $15 for a CD full of songs I like, but too often all the songs aren’t good.  I definitely don’t want to pay $15 for only one or two songs!

What the news article said makes sense, and I agree that it’ll grow the industry if they sell songs DRM-free.  But it requires a large amount of optimism to think the major labels will understand.  Their greed often drives them into poor decisions — which ironically costs them more profit.

FYI, if you want to buy some DRM-free MP3 music that will work on any MP3 player and that will let you burn CDs however you like, try .  I reviewed them a while back and am still a subscriber.  It’s great.  Almost all their albums are reviewed, it’s easy to explore new music, and the songs are around 18 cents each, under my current plan.  While they don’t have a lot of the “Top 40” music, there is some (usually on compilations), and you can find quite a few artists you know of.  Plus you can find a lot of artists you’ve never heard of that are just as good as (or better) than what you hear on the radio.

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