When Yahoo announced last week that they were turning off their DRM-restricted music store store in September, thereby abandoning customers with songs that would no longer play, people were understantably angry. At the time, Yahoo suggested you burn the songs to CD while you still can, then re-rip them into unprotected MP3 files—but that was a lousy solution that took time and money, and resulted in lower-quality audio files. Now they’ve come back with a proper solution that seems to more than make up for the trouble—especially if we can believe what their spokesperson told the LA Times.
First, here’s the official revised policy that Yahoo announced today, according to the Associated Press:
The company said Wednesday it is offering coupons on request for people to buy songs again through Yahoo’s new partner, RealNetworks Inc.’s Rhapsody. Those songs will be in the MP3 format, free of copy protection. Refunds are available for users who “have serious problems with this arrangement,” Yahoo said.
John Healey at the Los Angeles Times’ blog Bit Player published this additional information, which sounds like a hidden perk of the Yahoo Music Store closing:
Carrie Davis at Yahoo provided these nuggets of detail: if you’re looking for a coupon or a refund, contact Yahoo’s Customer Care department. There’s no need for proof of purchase. The offer expires at the end of the year. By the way, coupons can be redeemed for any track at Rhapsody, not just the ones the customer purchased from Yahoo.
Of course, you’ll have to explicitly request the coupons, then take the time to re-download your songs—or download new ones if you didn’t like the ones you originally bought (although that’s pretty shady, especially if you don’t delete the DRM-wrapped ones)—so it’s not the smoothest transition to DRM-free music. On the other hand, we’re glad to see Yahoo isn’t totally abandoning its customers after all.
“Yahoo offers coupons for music that stops working” [Associated Press] (Thanks to Chris!)
“Yahoo rethinks, offers refunds for DRM-wrapped songs” [Bit Player at Los Angeles Times]