While most had their eyes on Stephen Fry at the Nokia N97 launch, some keen bods were busy pumping the execs for information and it seems they pumped well. It turns out that Nokia is planning on phasing out the DRM on their Comes With Music package meaning that users will be able to download tracks as MP3s and actually keep their tunes.
It's always been the desire of the mobile giant to go DRM-free but ultimately the decision has always been down to the labels who have never exactly been first to come round to new digital ideas.
It seems, though, that the big wigs have softened/modernised their attitudes since deals like the DRM-free one between Virgin and Universal and it looks as all with CWM will reap the rewards as of 2010.
A Nokia spokesperson said: "Nokia is committed to going DRM free on the Nokia Music Store in 2009".
"Comes With Music offers great value and even with the DRM in place, it continues to have great appeal to our consumers. We are constantly discussing with the music industry about how to evolve Comes With Music and further enrich the proposition we currently have".
It's not clear if this evolution will continue to involve an all you can eat service if it is to be DRM-free but, given the extent of the CWM catalogue, I'm looking forward to finding out.
(via ME & Pocket Lint)
There's a lot of rumbling this morning on the intertubes about iTunes potentially going DRM-free on all labels as of today. It would be a dramatic change from Apple's famously 'locked-down' way of doing things, and could damage the iPod's sales as consumers learn they can play their media on other devices.
Download site 7Digital won a coveted Tech Digest Official Badge of Awesomeness earlier this year for being the first download site to go 100% DRM-free. Many have since followed, but iTunes remains a holdout, with the majority of its catalogue still lumbered with restrictions.
Rejoice, DRM-haters. Amazon MP3 has quietly gone live in the UK this morning. You can find it here. It's got some big big discounts on popular albums, with Take That's new 'Circus' going for just £3, as is Elbow's 'The Seldom Seen Kid' and Seasick Steve's 'I Started Out With Nothin And I Still Got Most Of It Left'. Recent albums by Kings Of Leon, Coldplay and Girls Aloud are similarly cheaptastic.
Although the catalogue isn't as ridiculously extensive as more established download services - yet - the user experience is great. I just downloaded Joni Mitchell's 'Blue' in just four clicks, plus a small one-off Amazon Downloader install, which downloads tracks in the background and adds them to your favourite media player.
SonyBMG, soon to be Sony Music Entertainment Inc, is one of the four major music labels, and features bands and artists like the Ting Tings, AC/DC and Dido. If rumours are correct, then music from those bands and many others will soon be available on the iTunes store DRM-free.
Currently, EMI are the only major label to offer MP3 files on iTunes Plus - Apple's name for their DRM-free, slightly higher quality, offering that costs 25% more per track than DRMed files. If Sony's music is added, it will be a plus for Apple, but they still lag far far behind services like 7digital, who are 100% DRM-free, and remain my a la carte MP3 download provider of choice.
While we're at it, do you know what the most downloaded catalogue song ever on iTunes is? Soundscan, over the weekend, determined that it's the epic "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey. Classic. I've embedded a video of them playing it live just after the jump. Power Ballads first thing on a Monday morning are just what everyone needs.
After my very wary preview of Datz Music Lounge, the other day, a review copy landed on my desk, so I thought you'd appreciate a full-on, honest look at the all-you-can-eat MP3 service.
It's a big black box, with a Nietzche quote on the inside of the lid. It looks good, but ultimately 95% of the space in the box is taken up by foam - a bit of a waste. It only holds a manual, a gold installation CD, and a USB dongle. We'll come back to the dongle in a minute. Click over the jump for info about installation, software and the available catalogue...
Let the record show that I'm very suspicious about this one. Over the past few weeks, I've been in touch with a company called Datz who claim that they've got a product, launching this weekend, which will give you unlimited MP3 downloads for a year, for a one-off price of £99...
This morning, in a loft in Shoreditch, 7Digital announced that their digital music catalogue is to become 100% free of DRM. The last holdout among the major labels - SonyBMG - has bowed to consumer demand and agreed to sell its catalogue of 250,000 tracks in MP3 format, as opposed to the restricted WMA format. Even better, all SonyBMG tracks that customers have previously bought will be upgraded to MP3s at no cost. All MP3s are at 320kbps quality...
Following in the footsteps of Deutsche Gramophon, a service called Passionato is launching today, which will feature very high quality DRM-free downloads of classical... er... classics. It could prove popular - as previously reported, one in three classical music lovers owns an MP3 player, and download music, as well as ripping their classical CDs to MP3. One in five legally download tracks...