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Sony BMG to sell DRM-free music downloads through stores
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Written by Daniel   
Monday, 07 January 2008 14:11
Users will be able to download just 37 albums DRM-free from Sony BMG starting Jan. 15 -- but first they must go to a retail store and buy the $12.99 Platinum MusicPass

By Peter Sayer, IDG News Service
January 07, 2008
InfoWorld


Sony BMG Music Entertainment will crack open the door to its music vaults on Jan. 15, taking the DRM copy-prevention wrapper off a limited selection of downloadable tracks.
The tracks will be offered in MP3 format, without DRM (digital rights management), from Jan. 15 in the U.S. and from late January in Canada.

The move is far from the all-digital service offered by its rivals, though. To obtain the Sony-BMG tracks, would-be listeners will first have to go to a retail store to buy a Platinum MusicPass, a card containing a secret code, for a suggested retail price of $12.99. Once they have scratched off the card's covering to expose the code, they will be able to download one of just 37 albums available through the service, including Britney Spears' "Blackout" and Barry Manilow's "The Greatest Songs of the Seventies."

In contrast, online retailer Amazon.com offers 2.9 million DRM-free tracks in MP3 format from the catalogs of EMI Group, Warner Music Group, Universal Music and a host of independent record labels. Apple's iTunes Store has around 2 million DRM-free tracks in the AAC format supported by its iPod and many mobile phones. No store visit is necessary to download those tracks, and an album typically sells for $9.99 or less.

About 4,500 retail outlets in the U.S. will sell the Platinum MusicPass cards by the end of the month, including Best Buy, Target, Trans World, Fred's, and Winn-Dixie, according to Sony-BMG. In Canada, the cards will sell through Best Buy, CD Plus, and Wal-Mart, and later through record store HMV.... More    Comment in the Forum
 
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