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From Under the DRM Cloud

Suddenly Apple are the odd ones out.

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Music subscriptions don't work. That's what the market says. Which basically proves Apple were right all along. But even if DRM works it doesn't work as well as DRM free. Which basically leaves Apple as the odd ones out.

Napster have now gone over from an abortive subscription based service to a $0.99 per track DRM free service, offering 6,000,000 songs for immediate download. This follows in the steps of Amazon who are also doing the same thing. But the move by Napster makes them the biggest in the DRM free market.

Napster's collection includes tracks from all the major record labels and independents.

The songs work on iPods but also on any other MP3 player on the market. They can be burnt to CD and transferred as many times as you wish to any other device you wish - no limitations.

'We believe consumers will be moving to an unlimited music model', said Napster CEO Chris Gorog.

Although Apple still have 70% of the market Napster's move makes it obvious the days of DRM are over. Some pundits also see the move as the beginning of the end of Apple's dominance.

'It is really the beginning of a level playing field which I think is essential for Napster but also for the health of the digital music business in general', says Gorog.

Apple were first in touting the virtues of DRM free and began offering 'some' free EMI tracks long ago but their iTunes music technology is dependent on a hardware lockin. The iTunes music store is in essence a profitable loss leader for their iPod and associated devices.

Apple are a company notorious for their 'whole banana' hardware lockin technologies. They've gone to the ludicrous extent they place limericks in their operating system code begging hackers to not run their software on non-Apple devices.

The players in the music market - the buyers and sellers both - don't seem interested in lockin technologies anymore. Certainly not when they have free and profitable alternatives such as Amazon's and Napster's they can use instead.

See Also
BBC News: Napster Launches MP3 Music Store

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