Amazon, the Internet’s most successful seller of physical CDs, today announced plans to introduce a music download store later this year, selling songs and albums in the MP3 format without the anti-copying protection used by most online music retailers.
Selling songs as MP3 files means that customers can transfer their music without limits to any computer, cellphone or music playing device, including Apple’s iPod and Microsoft’s Zune.
The music will be from a major label, EMI, and 12,000 independent music companies that have chosen not to use the copy-restricting software known as digital rights management, or D.R.M.“We are offering a great selection of music that our customers love in a way they clearly desire, which is D.R.M.-free, so they can play it on any device they own today or in the future,” said Bill Carr, Amazon’s vice president for digital media.
David Card, an analyst at JupiterResearch, said Amazon’s store would immediately position Amazon as a serious rival to Apple and its popular iTunes service. “We’ve been waiting for Amazon to be a serious player in digital music for some time,” he said. “They know how to sell music and this is a powerful endorsement of the MP3 strategy.”
The other major labels have so far balked at selling their catalogs in this manner. They will only offer their music with copyright protections that limit the actual tracks usage.
I don't find it shocking that the other labels are not willing to go along with this at this time. They have been lagging behind the curve for a long time when it comes to digital music.
I do have a warning for them though. This is just the first step for Amazon. It isn't going to take them long to figure out that they don't need the major labels. After all, why throw them some money when you're doing the heavy lifting. After all, why can't Amazon become the label and guarantee the artists and themselves for that matter a larger share of the money.
The majors can hang on for a while, of course, they have large catalogs and already signed artists. But those labels have drug their feet for too long. Kill them. Kill them now.