Following in the footsteps of Apple’s iTunes media store, Amazon.com, one of the largest online retailers of music, is opening an online music outlet to sell digital files without copy protection. The move could have implications for TV shows being sold online as well.
Amazon plans to sell songs that can be copied without restriction to any personal computer, mobile phone or music player, including Apple’s iPod.
The initiative was widely seen as another nail in the coffin of digital rights management (DRM) for music files. Success in the music industry could lead to similar pressure on television, video and motion pictures to drop copy protection as well.
Amazon announced last week that it would add the music download store to its Web site this year. It will sell songs and albums in the unrestricted MP3 format, a generic file type that will play on virtually all media players regardless of brand or type.
The service, Amazon said, will include music from EMI and about 12,000 independent music companies that have chosen not to use copy protection software.
If the unprotected tracks from Apple and Amazon prove popular, music executives said the other major labels would feel pressure to follow EMI’s example.