AfterDawn: Tech news

Yahoo! tests DRM-free album download

Written by Ben Reid @ 19 Sep 2006 12:50 User comments (26)

Yahoo! tests DRM-free album download Yahoo! Music users will be able to download Jesse McCartney's new album "Right Where You Want Me," album in either MP3 or WMA format for $9.99 without any copy protection - a first for a mainstream pop album.
Ken Bunt, senior VP of marketing at McCartney's record company Hollywood Records, appeared to concede that illegal filesharing on peer-to-peer will never be stopped, therefore the record company is forced to experiment with unrestricted music in an attempt persuade music fans to "go legal".

"We're trying to be realistic," he admitted. "Jesse's single is already online and we haven't put it out. Piracy happens regardless of what we do. So we're going to see how Jesse's album goes (as an MP3) and then decide on others going forward."

Many different online download services, such as Apple's iTunes Store and Napster offer a large library of music to consumers. But chart music is generally restricted by digital rights management, which can make songs hard or impossible to convert, burn, share, or play on certain brands of digital music players.

Yahoo! previously sold an exclusive version of Jessica Simpson's song "A Public Affair" as an MP3. However, at $1.99, it was double the cost of a normal song - a high price to pay for freedom of music.

"We think this is a really good experiment, because copy protection is not doing anything to stop people from stealing when you can just get unprotected tracks off of a CD or get music illegally online," said Yahoo! Music chief Dave Goldberg. "We think it's good to make it easy for consumers to get digital music on whatever device they want and for companies like us to not be reliant on one particular technology company for how our consumers can access music."


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26 user comments

119.9.2006 13:38

alright, start paving the way..we look to the future for greater things to come from you.

219.9.2006 14:08

Way to go Yahoo!! Finally; a big company that actually UNDERSTANDS that consumers shouldn't have to deal with all of this stupid DRM and advanced cp's.

319.9.2006 14:22

Show the way :)

419.9.2006 14:40

Holy ****!!! That's ****** amazing! Lets hope this trend continues.

519.9.2006 16:02

Now is the time for all the people saying that if this was real they would pay, being treated in a more user friendly way, at least now they would feel guilty buy downloading it from a p2p after all those post ;)
To Bad is Jessey Mccartnie, not even as beautifull as it sounds makes me wanna buy it :p

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 19 Sep 2006 @ 16:04

619.9.2006 16:29

If I liked Jesse McCartney I would buy this album and I might anyway just to show support for this type of act. I love the comment Ken Bunt said

Piracy happens regardless of what we do.
WOW! Its amazing! A smart man in a semi-high place actually gets a fact correct for once! Piracy can't be stopped, it can only be slowed down temporarily by new technologies until loopholes are discovered (which is pretty quick now-a-days). If you like (or even know someone who likes) Jesse McCartney, I would suggest buying this album of Yahoo! Music for yourself (or the person you know) as if enough people do it I am sure other, better, artists will also follow through and offer restriction-free downloadable music. Really, I will start purchase music online via Yahoo! Music if they start offering my favorite artists music restriction-free. The reason I would do this is because then it will show the RIAA that DRM (and any other sort of restriction put on music you buy) is BAD and that the artists (and their for the RIAA) will make MORE money if they offer to let consumers to music restriction free. Peace, Pop Smith

719.9.2006 17:47

I think 10 is still pricey, 8-9 would be a perfect price.

819.9.2006 18:07

{Dances up and down} Yeah, buddy! Woo hoo. I told my sister that I'd buy if for her Christmas. I just bought it and she couldn't resist the wait. So I just gave it to her and she's amazed at the legality of transferring it from device to device. MORE WE WANT MORE! Who knew that legal stuff could be fun?

920.9.2006 0:50

Finally, someone with their eyes wide open and in touch with reality, instead of walking around with their head up their own backside and their hands in our pockets. Truth be known most artists see very little of our money and the RIAA, MPAA and the likes in my eyes have no right to cash in on the hard work and intellect of artists. Granted the record companies promote their work and market it but the artists themselves deserve a much bigger slice of the pie! The prices are still too high IMO considering they don't have the packaging designs and production to worry about, but it's a step in the right direction all the same. More artists need to get in on this and get their music on this kind of forward thinking service but also demand lower pricing and more royalties than ever before, instead of always relying on the recording industry to sell their music riddled with DRM and getting very little back for it other than a bunch of unhappy consumers.

1020.9.2006 2:42

It's a step in the right direction, for sure. If Yahoo! Music were to implement the DRM-free system on all its content, I could very easily see it toppling (maybe not piracy, but at least) iTunes.

1120.9.2006 3:57

@ $5 it might be worth it. Probably only 5 tracks that may be decent, if that many.

1220.9.2006 5:28

"Lethal_B (Staff Member) 20 September 2006 6:42 It's a step in the right direction, for sure. If Yahoo! Music were to implement the DRM-free system on all its content, I could very easily see it toppling (maybe not piracy, but at least) iTunes." Now that I would love to see happen, (SH)ITunes and IPod, I really detest everything they do. Low quality DRM trash, and their players are a rip off and unreliable too. Made in China by some poor guy or gal earning $2 a day, just awful. I could not spend my money with them without having a serious guilty conscience about it!

1320.9.2006 8:49

Just something to try and get ahead of the competition. They know some people hate the DRM so they remove it and try to make some more cash, good to see tbh

1420.9.2006 8:53

Definetely a step in the right direction (and some welcome realism thrown in too, happy days huh?).

Unfortunately these guys have yet to stop treating the customer like idiots to be gouged.

$10!? :lol:
When 'we' carry all the overheads of the downloading connection & the physical reproduction?
They jest surely.......oh no.....they're serious.
Oh dear.
How sad, nevermind.

......and then they'll wonder why their (in their eyes) 'ever so reasonable steps' get ignored by so many.

But then this little tale has always been one of unlimited corporate greed standing in the way of a perfectly fair and reasonable solution.

When they start talking xx cents/pennies per song (cos that's what the artists get out of it now and what they would themselves would get if they remove production and transportation/warehousing etc etc costs) maybe they'll be on to something.

Til then they and their rip-off 'machine' will keep getting ignored.
Quite rightly.

1520.9.2006 8:55

Although it sounds good there just shooting themselves in the foot at $1.99, $.99 is too much. If you don’t address all of the issues it is just a futile attempt to make something work or better yet maybe they want this to fail in order to support their reasoning behind using DRM. Also, has Jesse McCartney's song saturated the market already if so this again doesn’t mean much. Why is a music CD as much or more expensive then a lot of movies out there? The cost to produce is much less and the amount of play time per disc is less then half of a movie. The MPAA may be bad but the RIAA is ten times worst and corrupt. I wouldn’t pay for downloaded music no matter what as I prefer high quality sound, case cover graphics, and the case with its CD/DVD’s in it. There is no way I will pay as much for much less, but then I’m practical and not so lazy that I can’t rip my own disc’s. I just love the iPod comment since I thought I would try out one of the new MP3 players buying the SanDisk e270. It looks great, like the iPod, but the sound quality is horrible, the function switches are confusing, the FM discriminator sucks, when in FM how do you switch to MP3, the mixer was a waste, and so on… Obviously I returned it right away since I have an old Walkman that is much better at a fraction of the cost, but bulky.

1620.9.2006 10:26

If it was just a higher bitrate online music would be getting somewhere!

1721.9.2006 1:00

I already subscribe to Yahoo Music and switched off my p2p program, unfortunately not all of the artists I want are available but most of them are.

1821.9.2006 1:34

I think this is great! It's about time major companies started doing this. TAKE NOTICE HOLLYWOOD! NO DRM, NO FUSS, JUST ENTERTAINMENT. If more artists follow suite, and A) I can find what I want. I listen to alot of "not so popular" artists like GG Allin, Daniel Johnston, alot of Death Metal, etc. B) the price drops just a bit. I mean, you can buy a CD at major chain stores for around $13, so $10 for a download is a little pricey. I might go legit on my music. Now, If Holly wood would just release movie in theatres, and on DVD simultaneously for around that $10 price tag all would be right in the world! Also... any word on if the record company wanted this, or if Jesse himself had anything to do with it?

1921.9.2006 12:25

I'm a Yahoo music subscriber and was just on the Yahoo Unlimited Music program yesterday and I did not notice that you could buy this album DRM free. I don't think this will prove much in the way of sells unless it gets advertized to the consumers. I noticed a picture of the album on the Yahoo Unlimited Music program but I didn't think it was any different than any other album. Without this post I would have never known I could get the songs without DRM. This should be on TV, magazines, and other forms of advertisement. I'm sure most of the iTunes users who buy from the iTunes store may have already paid for the DRM version not knowing they could have gotten it from Yahoo DRM free. I use Yahoo unlimited to listen to music but buy from iTunes since I have and iPod. I already purchased the hit song from the album DRM'ed from iTunes. I'm not going to buy again to get DRM free. If I knew I could have bought it at Yahoo MP3 DRM free, I would have, since MP3 plays on my iPod.

2021.9.2006 17:52

I just got off my Yahoo Music Unlimited program and clicked on the Jesse McCartney album selection and it does not mention anything about DRM free or MP3 format. I guess you just get surprised when you buy the album. Has anyone actually bought this album from Yahoo in MP3 format.

2121.9.2006 17:57

I finally found the offer on their web page Too bad the didn't offer it to their best customers who subscribe to their Unlimited service.

2222.9.2006 7:47

Who is Jesse McCartney? House, Trance, Hip Hop?

2322.9.2006 9:59

What's the big deal we've been buying DRM free music on for ages ......duh cost of an album about $1.70 < That's the right price. The record companies can take it or leave it. Or we'll just take it................for free ...LOL

2424.9.2006 11:21! 25 cents a song! No DRM! Legal in the US!! I'm not a shill, just a happy customer. Just have a look, it'll take you 2 seconds.

2526.9.2006 11:47

Still 2 xpensive. I buy music from Russian sites that ARE ligit for 99 cents and songs for a dime. I don't trust American companies near as much as i do Russian. Sad isn't it? :~(

2626.9.2006 15:58

Those Russian sites are so *not* legit, if you bother doing even some half-assed research on the subject.

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