back to article Yahoo! shoots DRM servers, swallows keys to tunes

Like Micro, like Hoo. Following in the footsteps of Steve Ballmer and company, Yahoo! plans to destroy the DRM servers propping up all those people misguided enough to purchase tunes from its failed music store. It's called Yahoo! Music Unlimited. But there are limits. The online tune store/subscription service will close on …


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  1. Peter Ramins

    Can we call these services what they really are?

    You don't buy music from an online DRM repository.

    You rent it.

    When the service goes tits up, there goes your ongoing rental. (Even if you paid the entire rental fee upfront.)

  2. Peter

    time for RIAA to step up

    RIAA has been pressuring everyone to accept DRM and here's their opportunity. If DRM is viable (I personally don't think so) then Yahoo can turn over the servers and RIAA will run them. This is just validating your PC, not every song, so it's a very light load.

    If RIAA then does not step up, then what does that tell us about their attitude to DRM ?

  3. Joe K
    Gates Horns

    Absolutely hilarious

    Once again the only people left bollocked by DRM are those honest people willing to part with cash.

    Bittorrent must be looking real good for all those poor bastards who threw their money down the shitter.

  4. Anonymous Coward


    Meanwhile all he MP3s I bought from before *they* went tits-up are still working just beautifully thank-you-very-much.

    PS: Thanks MS and Yahoo!(!) for showing the world exactly why DRM just cannot work for anything you hope to keep for more than a fortnight.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    Yahoo are getting as bad as Fasthosts, start a new idea - not enough interest - ditch it.

    I can still remember paying for sending SMS messages on my Yahoo account only days later to find they were scrapping the service - suprise suprise no response to a request for a refund!

    After seeing this story ... if I see a new Yahoo! service, I'll be taking the news with a pinch of salt!!!!

  6. Robert Armstrong
    Paris Hilton

    Reality is a b1tch

    The reality of DRM is exactly what Peter Ramins says, you are renting music.

    When you rent something, your rights are secondary and the EULA which most people never read does state that Yahoo can change the terms at any time without your consent. This is why I only buy non-DRM music, either on physical media or dl from amazon and emusic.

    The rental model is not a bad idea to have access to tracks, but as we are seeing time and time again, it is not permanent.

    I'm going to hang out with Paris since she is just like reality, and I love my b1thces!

  7. Steve Liddle

    So much for DRM

    Never bothered with DRM music, since I play with winamp, but found some site called jamendo that allows people to download for free in mp3 or ogg and as it is released under Creative Commons licence, it does not expire :)

  8. Gordon Jahn

    Yay! This is why I held out for DRM-free

    So I held out till DRM free took off... yay! Well, that and the fact that DRM didn't really play well with my Linux desktop.

    Now can someone tell me why DRM is still good for movies and TV downloads, and if there are DRM servers - sorry, key management servers - for BluRay just waiting to be switched off when Sony want us to go out and buy the next new format...?

    It's all bollocks - the fact that Vista was supposed to be an OS purely for the benefit of M$'s DRM platform, and not for the people they wanted to buy it, has got to be one of the biggest reasons for its slow death.

    So raise a glass and let's hope that the Daily Mail et al get stuck right into this and give DRM the right royal kicking it deserves.

  9. Rich Turner
    Thumb Up

    In defense of Zune

    Just wanted to right the apple cart here:

    Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Real and any other online media store has been forced to bend to the will of the content publishers and implement a workable DRM solution.

    While some content publishers have opted to make some of their content available for purchase without DRM, the total amount of DRM-free content is still dwarfed by DRM-ed content. Hopefully, the amount of media you can purchase sans DRM will increase over time, but that's up to the content publishers.

    In Zune's case, when you buy DRM-free content, it's downloaded as MP3 files. DRM-ed content on the other hand is downloaded as protected WMA files.

    This latter is (currently) particularly necessary in order to support Zune's $14.99-per-month-for-as-much-music-as-you-want-to-download plan. Whilst not everybody likes the notion of "subscribing" to the right to listen to any amount of music from a huge library of content, it is, having been an avid subscriber since Nov 2007, a *FANTASTIC* way to enjoy and explore FAR more music than I'd ever have the funds and/or inclination to normally.

    Once you let go of the hindrance of owning physical media (and the management overhead therein), one quickly finds music subscription as THE killer reason to become a Zunester :)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i call that by another name...

    extortion and racketeering ....

  11. Frumious Bandersnatch

    giving yahoo's music offering a name

    advance fee fraud... 419

  12. Jason Hall

    When testing the services of I used a very specific email address. Just *as* they were closing their doors I started receiving spam/viruses to that same address.

    Naughty Russians.

  13. Steven Knox
    Paris Hilton

    @Rich Turner

    "Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Real and any other online media store has been forced to bend to the will of the content publishers and implement a workable DRM solution."

    Try Amazon.

  14. Henry Cobb


    Dismal Rental Music

  15. DrXym Silver badge

    This is why digital downloads are a bad idea

    Some people think digital downloads are going to take over the world. Perhaps they will one day, but it is examples like this which demonstrate the serious issues that have to be overcome.

    Frankly you would have to be stupid to buy substantial content from a DRM'd store where it only plays on activated devices or proprietary players. Microsoft killed their store, Yahoo killed their store, Amazon is killing Unbox for a subscription service. Anyone who bought content on those stores is left in the lurch. At best they'll have to use some crappy proprietary player for the rest of their days, at worst their music will be locked to their activated devices and will die with them.

    Digital downloads don't have to suck, but the reality is for now that they do. The industry has GOT to stop trying to lock users into proprietary formats. The sick thing is that music is finally getting a clue and going to non-DRM formats, at a time when video is appearing and implementing even worse DRM.

    People moan about the crypto or region coding on DVDs and Blu Ray but it doesn't hold a candle to what is going on with digital.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Apple Store

    Every time there's another story like this (MS pulled the same stunt a few months back, IIRC) I think: "well, that's the final nail in the coffin for DRM'd music., especially now there are legit legal sites like selling a la carte individual tracks as mp3, and paying off the protection racket that is the "content industry". And I'm wrong every time! What's it gonna take?

    For a while I was under the impression that stuff ripped for iPods or bought from the itunes site had a strict limit on the number of systems you could migrate it to, before it stopped working. So, I thought as the ipod phenomena exploded, "in three Mac lifecycle's time, there's going to be the mother of all backlashes as people's expensively obtained music collections go up in a cloud of /dev/null". Either I was wrong about the three systems rule, or Macs last longer than I thought (which isn't what the Open Season peeps were saying on show 20, apparently the super cool mac air is virtually dead after six months?) So what gives? Did Jobsy relent on that turn of the screw, or what?

  17. h4rm0ny
    Paris Hilton

    @Anonymous Coward

    What problem did you have with Fast Hosts ditching a service? I've been with them for a couple of years and they've been the best hosting company yet, for me.

    Paris, because she's rental - not own, as well.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Not yahoo!'s fault

    Yahoo hitched their cart to MSFT's DRM and media platform. This is just more fallout from the Plays For Sure vs. Zune debacle.

    I feel bad for Yahoo... they offered a similar service to Rhapsody but they offered more stable software and charged half as much... they really tried to sell a good product for a good price... not their fault if the MSFT underpinnings are crap.

  19. Blain Hamon
    Paris Hilton


    > For a while I was under the impression that stuff ripped for iPods or bought from the itunes site had a strict limit on the number of systems you could migrate it to, before it stopped working

    Obligatory Apple fanboy explanation: Unlimited iPods, etc, 5 computers at a time. At any time you can de-authorize a computer to free up another slot. If you forgot and can't get to that computer to de-authorize it, you can also de-authorize all computers (once every year or so) to free up all five slots (And, of course, reauthorize the computers you do have). You can also burn the music to CDs quite easily (up to 10 per playlist, then just make a new playlist) and rerip them if it really matters. As for Macs lasting longer, I've still got a 10 year old Blue and White G3 that I fire up every so often, so yeah.

    > Did Jobsy relent on that turn of the screw, or what?

    Believe it or not, it's in Apple's best interest to get rid of DRM (for music*). To put it cynically, the iPod lock-in is in usability and trendiness, not DRM. And Apple can sell more tracks and make more money without DRM, as well as not have to deal with the increasing arms race of DRM enforcement.

    The best chance for a DRM-free music future is that the middlemen are now panicking over Apple having the power to cut them out of the musician->consumer path. The only way to weaken that possibility is to have strong competition and commoditization at the music store level. And the only way for that to happen is that anyone can sell their music to iPods or other music players. And the only way for *that* to happen is DRM-free songs. In trying to lock in consumers, the middlemen have locked themselves out, and are scrambling to undo it. Ironic, isn't it?

    (*For video or software, on the other hand, well, Jobs wears two hats.)

    Paris, because she has a slot free, but there might be middlemen.

  20. Levente Szileszky


    "By Jason Hall

    When testing the services of I used a very specific email address. Just *as* they were closing their doors I started receiving spam/viruses to that same address.

    Naughty Russians."

    Errr, no. I have used my regular address and no changes in the amount of spam ever happened.... BTW I *STILL* use allofmp3 - it's alive and well, you just have to type in a different address but your login works fine, you can buy and download the same way.

  21. Lukin Brewer

    EULA - it's not a guarantee, mate.

    Does anyone remember that public service ad warning against the dangers of pirate DVDs, where a straight man tries to return a non-working pirate DVD to the dodgy market trader he bought it from and gets laughed at. "Verbal contract, mate - not worth the paper it's written on."

    Seems to me that you could do a similar advert with a legal downloader complaining to the locked plate glass doors of a corporate headquarters while the promotional screens in the lobby display messages about the company's indifference to his situation and mock his powerlessness.

    "Don't buy DRMed music. You will get ripped off. Insist on unlocked downloads or use P2P."

  22. Dalai Farma
    Thumb Up

    High in polycarbonates

    I did use the ruskies and their excellent music service for a time to fill in holes in my back catalog. Other than the occasional new album that comes out i've actually got pretty much everything I need, music wise. The last music I bought was on CD, directly from the artist (

    Buy CD, rip to HDD in whatever format/bitrate I want, put CD on shelf. Copy tracks to iRiver/phone etc. None of this faffing with licenses/keys/lockouts or whatever.

    CDs 1 pish-poor internet services 0

  23. Anonymous Coward


    Are! The! Exclamation! Marks!?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I hope they all enjoy their drmaids

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