Amazon Soon Opening DRM-free MP3 Store

Looks like rumors are afloat that Amazon is planning on a late first quarter 2007 launch of a new music download store. In an already crowded music download market, Amazon hopes to differentiate itself in two major ways:

The company is apparently telling labels (politely, I’m sure) that it is only interested in selling DRM-free mp3s (meaning, once you download the song, it’s yours for whatever purpose you see fit, no more restrictions like you can burn only X amount of times or you can only have it reside on X computers, etc.). The second difference is that Amazon seems interested in offering variable pricing.

Rumors are claiming that Amazon began circulating contracts to labels late last week. Obviously if Amazon goes the DRM-free mp3 route, the company nicely avoids playing favorites on the hardware side, as it will only sell music downloads that are compatible on all devices.

Right now it’s not clear which major labels might be included at Amazon’s launch. Indie labels seem to be branded as the likely first movers. The DRM-free approach may not be what some labels want, but variable pricing is a feature other labels have been interested in for some time.

So the question is: Is Amazon big enough to take significant market share away from Apple & friends? If the DRM-free ideal comes true, I think we may have something to look forward to in 2007…

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  • revell22

    I don’t have an mp3 and have hesitated with all the restrictions. This might make it worthwhile!

  • Andrew

    Maybe this will attract people who download music illegally now.

  • http://www.ncwlist.com mrrbob

    I have never nor will I ever ever ever EVER buy music online unless it is drm free. I would much rather buy the cd then rip it so I got the cd as a backup in case of hard drive crash etc.

    If I could buy just the songs I wanted and they were cheap enough I could go for it though as I could always burn a backup copy if needed.

  • Tim

    This is just the first step in making it acceptable to buy music online as far as I’m concerned. The second is upping the quality to the same as the CD. Why should I pay for an inferior product?

  • belthur

    Hope this is the beginning of the end of DRM crap. I am pretty sure Amazon, once it starts making a ton of money, others will follow.

    And the consumer is the king once again…touch wood.

  • http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2129201-10364614 eMusic

    There is already a store full of DRM-free songs:
    http://www.eMusic.com. Get 25-free songs with a trial membership:
    http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2129201-10364614

  • Timothy Larsen

    Yeah (about emusic) but try finding music you’ve actually heard of!

  • http://www.learnoutloud.com Jon Bischke

    I wonder if Amazon will do DRM-free audiobooks as well. We currently sell a pretty large selection but there are many publishers who haven’t been willing to sell their content DRM-free.

    http://www.learnoutloud.com/Downloads

  • refize

    Another great DRM-free mp3 store is http://www.iomoio.com. Their holiday’s bonus scheme (till 23:59:59 12/31/2006) is amazing. I’ve deposited $30 and got $60 credited into my account. I mean it’s already cheap (price per song is only $0.15) and now with bonuses like that, you can say that one song costs ONLY $0.075. SEVEN cents for DRM-free mp3? I DEFENETLY CAN LIVE WITH THAT:)

  • refize

    Another great DRM-free mp3 store is http://www.iomoio.com. Their holiday’s bonus scheme (till 23:59:59 12/31/2006) is amazing. I’ve deposited $30 and got $60 credited into my account. I mean it’s already cheap (price per song is only $0.15) and now with bonuses like that, you can say that one song costs ONLY $0.075. SEVEN cents for DRM-free mp3? I DEFINITELY CAN LIVE WITH THAT:)

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  • http://www.soundchoice.com Andrew Rogers

    Hi Refize,

    I checked out http://www.iomoio.com. It is another one of these Russian operated stores that doesn’t make artists or labels enough money to even think about surviving. There are quite a few of these stores popping up in various shapes and sizes. While they may put some good pressure on majors, they are not viable business models :(

    -Andrew