How do you reduce the amount of illegal downloading? Well, if you’re the government, you attempt to bring in a ridiculous law banning internet use for three-time offenders. Or if you’re a sensible retailer, you make legal downloads more appealing to the consumer.
That’s what Play.com is doing, becoming the first major UK retailer to offer DRM-free downloads via its PlayDigital service. The company is already making noises about challenging iTunes in the UK, but with just EMI and some of the larger indies ( Vital and Pinnacle) on its books, that’s not a claim you can take seriously right now.
But offering files that can be played on any platform is a step forward. Pricing is good too, with the top 100 tracks available from 65p per track (compared to 79p on iTunes) and albums from £4.95.