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Play.com Removes DRM From Tracks, Goes Against iTunes and Amazon

EMI, Sony BMG, Warner Music, Universal Music and a number of other independent labels have now all signed with Online Etailer Play.com to offer their tracks without any Digital Rights Management "protection".

Although not the first one to offer DRM-free music, Play.com is certainly the best known having won the award for best e-tailer (from Which? Magazine) this year ahead of archrival Amazon.

More than three million music tracks will now be available following the launch of the Playdigital Store back in February 2008 (opens in new tab).

Play.com undercuts Tesco and Apple's prices both for the top 100 tracks and featured albums, which is good news for punters but Apple still comes ahead with a better iTunes integration.

Head of PlayDigital, Wendy said in a statement that “It was only a matter of time before the other three major labels came onboard and we now have an offer to rival that of iTunes, yet in a format that gives the consumer choice and at a more appealing price.”

Obviously, this piles pressure on Apple to be more lenient when it comes to Digital Rights Management and provides with more choice in an increasingly bi-polar configuration with pay per tracks on one side and eat-as-much-as you want on the other.

The next big music store to be formally launched will be Amazon's MP3 store, scheduled for release in the next few weeks; like Play.com, it will also come without DRM and is sure to drive down the price of albums and singles.

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.