back to article Universal tests DRM-free future

Universal Music Group, the world's largest music label, has said it will temporarily allow the sale of thousands of its albums and tracks DRM-free. For the next few months, the likes of Amy Winehouse, the Black Eyed Peas, and 50 Cent will see the MP3 format of their music sold without copy protection technology. Universal said …


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  1. NRT

    Selling DRM free music

    Er... Last time I checked that was called a CD. Ok it will save me the effort of ripping it myself but if I use a CD I already have a backup.


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The likes of...


    With "...the likes of Amy Winehouse, the Black Eyed Peas, and 50 Cent will see the MP3 format of their music sold without copy protection technology" it means more sh't music will be accessible to more people.

    Music like this should have triple layers of DRM protection in the interests of public welfare.

  3. Register Reader


    I never usually buy MP3s, just CDs, but I may buy some of these just to show the fact that I hate DRM! I almost bought Amy Winehouse's album the other day - if the price for this is competetive to paying £8 or so for a CD album, then I'd buy it.

  4. Tim

    lossless, bitrate?

    Unless they are lossless format or a high enough bitrate to not suffer through conversion to whatever the format of the day is, I'm not interested.

    CDs can be archived lossless and I get a digital copy the same as the CD, and I know I can convert to any format without loss then or get perfect CD quality through my home media system by playing lossless files (e.g. Flac).

    Until downloads can do that, they're no use.

    In this 'digital' age we should surely be getting "better than CD" quality anyway, but no, good enough for an iPod then who cares, let's just abandon quality.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is being set up to fail.

    It's UMG, of course it isn't going to be competitive to buying the CD.

    Personally, I think UMG are intentionally setting this up so that it fails - by not running it through iTunes they can turn around at a later date and say, "Oh look we didn't sell very many DRM-free tracks so, obviously, it isn't as important to music buyers as people think... we'll continue using DRM, as the money we lost through piracy of our non-DRM tracks was greater than what we made selling them."

  6. Mo


    Universal wants to try it out and test consumer reactions and piracy responses.

    …but it doesn't want to sell through iTunes store, which is the market-leader in online music sales, by a country mile.

    What's it intended to achieve, other than a flawed trial that is pretty much guaranteed to fail because it deliberately avoids the mass-market?

    Oh, I think I just answered my own question.

  7. Cathryn


    The advantage is, you don't have to buy the whole album if you only want one track.

  8. Dave

    At least they aren't using iTunes GARBAGE SOFTWARE

    But I bet the prices will be sky high for crappy encoding. MP3's just aren't worth buying at anything under 320vbr.

    It would be nice if they used AllOfMP3's model. I'd buy thousands of songs. but no, they are going to be greedy as all hell and charge $2 a song, I bet.

  9. David Eddleman

    Funny you mention Wal-Mart...

    They're known to censor some of their CDs.

    No DRM, fine.

    Wait, why are my tracks bleeped out?

  10. Marc Cohen

    Remember Buggy Whips?

    In his famous article "Marketing Myopia" Professor Ted Leavitt described the buggy whip industry and observed that no amount of product improvement could prevent the evaporation of the industry.

    The record industry is on its way to becoming a new buggy whip industry. Eliminating DRM is the kind of ineffective product improvement Leavitt described.

    In order to survive the industry needs to reinvent itself as a free, ad-supported medium. This is the only way to make money in a world of easy piracy.

    Check out the Ad-Supported Music Central blog:

  11. Rick Damiani

    re: set up to fail

    Not selling through iTunes isn't setting up to fail. Not selling through iTunes is more like trying to find a way to remain relevant in digital music when Apple is doing all the distributing.

    UMG wants differential pricing. Apple won't agree. With DRM, UMG can't can't go anywhere else, and has to accept Apple's terms. Remove the DRM and Apple isn't calling the shots anymore. The only question remaining is 'is it too late to build an online marketplace for music that doesn't include Apple'

  12. William Bronze badge

    DRM or not

    All the music sold today is shit anyway. Luckily they can blame piracy for low sales instead of restricting actual artistic diversity and a bland formulaic methodology to producing music. Why on Earth HMV and its ilk have all their albums split up into all those different genres, there are only 5 types of songs released these days, all of them shit anyway.

  13. Daniel Bennett

    Make Up Your Minds!

    Theres been complaints all the time on TheReg about DRM on Music.

    This is the first step for them to scrap DRM, at least welcome it.

    It isn't just them artists that are DRM-Free.

    Also, Tracks that do have DRM on are piss easy to put as a pure .Mp3 file.

    How? Well.... *censored*

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