Sony BMG Will Drop DRM

BusinessWeek says that Sony BMG will join us here in the 21st century when they become the last of the top 4 big record companies to drop DRM.

In a move that would mark the end of a digital music era, Sony BMG Music Entertainment is finalizing plans to sell songs without the copyright protection software that has long restricted the use of music downloaded from the Internet, has learned. Sony BMG, a joint venture of Sony (SNE) and Bertelsmann, will make at least part of its collection available without so-called digital rights management, or DRM, software some time in the first quarter, according to people familiar with the matter.

Sony BMG would become the last of the top four music labels to drop DRM, following Warner Music Group (WMG), which in late December said it would sell DRM-free songs through’s (AMZN) digital music store. EMI and Vivendi’s Universal Music Group announced their plans for DRM-free downloads earlier in 2007.

We suppose this means that all those people who said they’d buy music if only it were DRM-free will have to hang up their torrents and put their money where their mouth is.

Will they? Or did the RIAA miss the bus?

Sony BMG Plans to Drop DRM [BusinessWeek]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Infoclast says:

    The title is misleading. Sony BMG is certainly not making a decision to drop DRM all across the board, or even for a significant portion of the board. They’re dropping it for a portion of their songs.

  2. Geekybiker says:

    Well I bought my first digitally distributed music awhile ago from Amazon and I’m glad to see this move. Low bit rate and DRM kept me away before. 256k drm-free mp3. Yah I’ll buy that.

    However I think that they maybe have missed the bus a little bit. People have been conditioned to free music via torrents now. It’ll be alot hard to convince people to pay who already pirate than it would have been to convince them to switch distribution systems in the first place.

  3. Falconfire says:

    @Infoclast: Yep and its obvious as to WHY these companies are doing it to. Of the big 4 only 1 has allowed Apple to drop DRM on their iTunes offerings while the other 3 continue to enforce it while letting other companies have the DRM free files.

    Thus to punish Jobs for calling them out in a public letter, they are going to try to stick it to Apple only for as long as iTunes remains the number 1 service. The minute more people jump to other services because they are DRM free… you know they are going to rule that the “experiment” was a failure and bring back DRM across the board.

    Its a scam.

  4. RvLeshrac says:

    Scam indeed!

    They totally missed the bus. By about 15 years. Hell, they missed the entire transit system. They’re still sitting at the bus stop while the pirates are up in the hovercars shouting “WHEEEEEEEE!”

  5. ageshin says:

    I miss the olden days when one could go to a store, and look at real physical things called records or latter cds. I am a fan of classical music, and this kind of music does not seem to fit the new music world. I miss holding something in my hand that I could play on my sterio. So as I walk around, my knuckles dragging on the ground, wondering just what the heck is going on.

  6. says:

    thanks again getty!

  7. deadlizard says:

    The labels want people to stuff their iPods with music from anywhere but iTunes. But guess what? Once they’re done with iTunes they’ll raise the price of downloads. Doesn’t matter because for this plan to happen, the labels have to be alive and their clock is already ticking.

  8. FLConsumer says:

    The people who brought us rootkits to our computers to go DRM-free? Doubtful.

  9. cerbie says:

    @ageshin: get with the times. You get a physical thing: a CD. Then you transfer it to your format of choice (ALAC, FLAC, etc.), then you get a Squeezebox to hook up to your stereo.

    Sarcastic jabs aside, what’s going on is that the popular music industry wants its music to be treated as a commodity, rather than art. Music lovers can’t do that, and it’s fundamentally not. I can swap Seagate with Samsung, but not Roy Buchanan with Rihanna* (also because one is dead, but that’s not the point).

    As such, adding handling and playback restrictions to segments of choices makes those choices less desirable, but there are not competing choices, because nobody but Vivendi owns rights to Live Stock. Without those choices for the same content, us consumers are not being given the chance to put their opinions in with dollars, and, “let the market decide.” So we complain about it when they complain that we aren’t buying it, and it’s getting pirated, and so on.

    * yes, I actually stopped to find names I could illiterate.

  10. RawSteelUT says:

    @ageshin: You make it sound like CDs are going away.

  11. RawSteelUT says:

    @cerbie: I haven’t treated pop music as art in ages. This is why I only buy music from eMusic. Everything else is CDs, which still outsell downloads anyway.

  12. Imhotep says:

    DRM needs to die in all forms of media. Music, games, movies… Not really owning what you buy is just wrong, and they all know it. The future is freedom!