DRM-free MP3s will boost music download sales, say UK retailers

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anti-drm34.jpgThe UK’s Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) has praised Sony BMG’s decision to abandon its opposition to DRM-free music, and allow online retailers to sell its tracks as MP3 files.

The label said last week that it’d make more than three million tracks available without DRM – and was the last major label to hold out against ditching copy protection. ERA reckons the news will give download sales a kick up the behind. “Sony-BMG’s decision to back MP3 is great news for music fans and the music market,” says director general Kim Bayley.

“DRM has clearly hampered the growth of the download market. The success of the compact disc was based on the fact that every CD played in every CD player. It has been clear that downloads could never reach their true potential until they were available on a universally-compatible open format. We welcome Sony-BMG’s recognition of this fact.”

However, there’s a catch. Sony BMG’s decision only applies to the US at the moment. As you’d expect from a UK-based trade body, Bayley is keen to see that policy extended across the Atlantic.

“Now that the principle has been established that MP3 is the way forward, it is vital that UK music fans do not get left behind,” she says. “We are on the verge of a great boom in download sales, but this can only happen if the music is available.”

ERA website (pic from TorrentFreak contest)

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Stuart Dredge