Universal drops DRM out of fear of an Appleopoly. Say that three times fast. [BoingBoing]


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  1. azntg says:

    Wow, everyone really likes following the bandwagon don’t they? At least this one’s among the better trends anyway!

  2. Buran says:

    And not selling the DRM-free tracks on iTunes.

    Way to go — way to go to make sure that you won’t get my money.

  3. NickRB says:


    Yeah no shit. They’ve sold 3 billion songs! I think it’s clear they’ve just done a better job of marketing and selling music. Why not just go with the flow? Until I can buy these on iTunes I won’t be buying Universal music anywhere.

  4. Maurs says:

    As far as not being sold on iTMS goes, I think I will be able to survive having to not pay a 30 percent premium on music.

  5. Cowboys_fan says:

    Keep up the good work pirates!

  6. bnosach says:

    That DRM stuff on iTunes is pointless. DRM is the only thing that keeps me buying from iTunes. For that reason I’m going to abouve mentioned pirate sites to accomodate my music needs :) Time to “think different”, Apple!

  7. TeraGram says:


    Hey that’s kind of fun.


  8. NickRB says:


    Certainly though, the DRM is not Apple’s fault. Apple WANTS DRM free music, but the labels have refused thus far. EMI has gone DRM free, but they demanded an extra 30 cents to do so.

  9. Televiper says:

    There’s a lot more too it than meets the eye. There is a plethora of Mp3 devices on the market now. The labels might finally be realizing that if you don’t sell what people need, they’ll just get very good at getting it for free. There’s always going to be a point where paying a little for digital music will out weigh the hassles of going through P2P sites. It’s really the same as buying pre-made products like cake mix, instead of making it from scratch for a fraction of the cost.

  10. Elijah-M says:

    The comments I read about this extra 30 cents per track thing are just laughable. Why? Because you only pay the extra thirty cents if you’re buying one track a-la-cart. If you buy the whole album, you pay the same price that you would for the lower bitrate, DRM-crippled version.

    Is $1.29 for a single track really that unreasonable? Singles have always cost more per track than whole albums, just as a can of soda has always cost more per ounce than a 2 liter bottle. This is nothing new.

  11. ::sarasm::Well at least it didn’t take them a long time.::sarcasm::

    I want to know why Time Warner hasn’t made this announcement yet. They’re the ones that really need to find a way to get people buying their music again.

    @NickRB: Why? Are the sites where you can buy Universal’s music unreliable?

  12. MonkeyMonk says:


    This is a very important point. $9.99 for an entire album of DRM-less music is a great deal. The day Apple started selling iTunes+ music is the day I started buying my music from iTunes. I’ve only got an iPod too but I just can’t justify buying *any* music with DRM.

    What people keep forgetting is that Apple wants to keep *lower* prices while the labels get mad at them during negotiations because they want to charge *more* for the music. Apples has just done a much better job at determining what the “sweet spot” for electronic music is and has marketed it expertly.

    Universal excluding Apple and iTunes from their “test” doesn’t make it sound like much of a “test.” Seems like they’re setting it up for failure from the start.

  13. no.no.notorious says:

    the only people that really hurt from this are big pop stars. If you’re a real musician, you want exposure more than cash. cash is nice, but you’d rather be getting out to more people at once than to the two person willing to pay the $10 for your album. i think real talent prevails and will have monetary success as well as fame.

    i think especially now-a-days people respect a musician who is willing to give away a couple tracks for free, or at least siding with DRM free music.

  14. suburbancowboy says:

    I still think it is overpriced. It only costs them bandwidth to transfer files to you, and you have no physical copy.
    If they were giving the artists a fair share of the money, I would think it was a fair price.
    If the music was cheaper, people would impulse buy like crazy.
    Price CDs (physical copies) at 6 or 7 bucks, and a lot of people would probably not even bother pirating any more. I would walk out of the record store with 5 or 6 discs a week at those prices.

  15. SBR249 says:

    forget DRM, countermeasures abound on the intarweb. What they need to do is offer better quality tracks. When is Apple gonna realize that 128kbps is just not gonna cut it when you are selling tracks for $0.99?

  16. Elijah-M says:

    @no.no.notorious: “The only people that really hurt from this are big pop stars.”

    I’m sorry, but there simply isn’t one shred of empirical evidence that supports this claim. Artists on moderately sized independent labels like Merge and Matador are hurt just as much, if not more than pop stars. A pop star who typically makes several million dollars a year can afford to lose income from decreased record sales, but a struggling musician who makes $30,000 a year isn’t quite so lucky. And yes, it is possible that they can benefit from increased exposure resulting from file sharing, but this is a hypothetical based on a set of assumptions about that artist’s situation that aren’t necessarily true.

    The idea that you’re helping an artist by downloading their music for free instead of paying for it is nothing more than a self-aggrandizing construct made up by people who don’t feel like they should have to pay for things. If you truly object to what a product costs and how it is sold, don’t buy it OR download it for free. Ignore it entirely.

  17. Elijah-M says:

    @suburbancowboy: “It only costs them bandwidth to transfer files to you”

    This ignores the costs associated with setting up and maintaining the back end of a pay-per-download system, with processing secure online transactions, and with employing a staff that maintains digital assets and provides customer service/tech support. The people who do all this stuff aren’t Wal-Mart employees getting minimum wage. Every single aspect in this scenario involves specialized skills.

    Case in point: According the Steve Jobs, Apple doesn’t make a dime when you buy tracks in the iTunes Music Store. They break even. They set the thing up as a way to sell iPods.

    “you have no physical copy.”

    Actually you do, in the form of files on your hard drive that can be archived in any way you see fit. Personally, I still prefer to just buy CDs, but just because it’s on your hard drive doesn’t make it some obscure form of anti-matter. It still exists in physical form, weather you can see it or not (and you can see it, albeit on your computer screen).

  18. Elijah-M says:

    @SBR249: “What they need to do is offer better quality tracks. When is Apple gonna realize that 128kbps is just not gonna cut it when you are selling tracks for $0.99?”

    Um, they did. The DRM-free tracks sold in the iTunes Music Store are 256kbps, not 128.

  19. @Elijah-M: The DRM-free tracks are $1.29 not $0.99.

  20. Elijah-M says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Yes. Better quality for more money. Or if you purchase the whole album, better quality for the same price.

  21. night_sky says:

    @NickRB: If DRM is not Apple’s fault, then how come they refused to let indie artists release their music DRM-free on iTunes before EMI announced they were releasing their music DRM-free?

  22. MonkeyMonk says:


    Because it would invalidated the contracts they had set up with the RIAA labels who were demanding the site use DRM. The RIAA couldn’t let a bunch of uipstarts make them look bad . . . they’re quite good enough at it themselves.

  23. night_sky says:

    @MonkeyMonk: Well, thanks for the info. I guess you were right Nick. I should have never doubted the extent the RIAA would go to ensure they have no competition.

  24. JeannieGrrl says:

    This is great news for me – I would not infect my PC with iTunes again for all of the cash in the world. They could offer to give me the music and I’d run for the hills. iTunes is crap. I do abhor the RIAA though. I think perhaps I’ll just stick with Scrapetorrent.Com ;)