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Microsoft to boldly go where Apple is already going...eventually

Microsoft changes tune on selling DRM-free songs

Exciting news on the digital music front. Microsoft plans to follow Apple's plan to sell DRM-free tracks from EMI to its extant army of Zune enthusiasts. Welcome to the social:

"The EMI announcement on Monday was not exclusive to Apple," said Katy Asher, a Microsoft spokeswoman on the Zune team, in an e-mail to the IDG News Service today. She said Microsoft has been talking with EMI and other record labels "for some time now" about offering unprotected music on its Zune players in an effort to meet the needs of its customers.

Way to innovate, Redmond. Once the period of EMI's exclusive deal with Apple has ended, this should make both Zune owners very happy.

[via: Boing Boing: Microsoft dropping DRM from Zune Music Store]

Tim Marman's picture

Wow, such Apple bias here...

Wow, such Apple bias here :)

This isn't a case of Apple "innovating" and Microsoft being a copycat. Many of the technology companies - aside from Apple and Microsoft, Real Networks and Yahoo! Music were both instrumental in fighting DRM. And most labels recognize the trouble with DRM - in most cases it seems to be decisions and strategy from the corporate parents. In fact, Gates railed against DRM months before Jobs' manifesto, and EMI had been considering releasing in MP3 (i.e., DRM-free) format for awhile.


If anything, it is simply the fact that Apple has significant marketshare for purchased music (as opposed to subscription and streaming) and obviously has a lot of influence (looking at their deals within the music industry and now with cellphones).

The mere fact that Apple was lucky (or powerful) enough to be the first to get this doesn't mean they are the ones "innovating".

And as for whether these will be "really" DRM-free - I have no problem at all with watermarking. In fact, as I wrote, I think shame as DRM is an ideal deterrent that discourages casual sharing and has the same effect on "real" piracy (i.e., none).


[ Oh, and in the interest of disclosure, I am Windows user but an iPod diehard, and a shareholder of both companies ]




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