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Microsoft Businesses Media Music Your Rights Online

Microsoft Set to Unlock EMI Songs, Too 171

Posted by Zonk
from the very-brave-new-world dept.
linumax writes "Microsoft has stated that it may be close to reaching a deal with EMI to sell songs without anti-piracy protection via the Zune platform. This, from comments made by head of marketing for Zune Jason Reindorp. They come hard on the heels of EMI's announcement that a deal with Apple to sell songs without DRM protection through the iTunes Music Store has been struck. Mr Reindorp said: 'We've been saying for a while that we are aware that consumers want to have unprotected content. This does open things up a little bit. It potentially makes the competition more of a device-to-device or service-to-service basis, and will force the various services to really innovate.'"
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Microsoft Set to Unlock EMI Songs, Too

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  • by romanval (556418) on Friday April 06, 2007 @08:46AM (#18633419)
    would they have do so even if Apple didn't convince EMI to drop DRM?

    I think not.
  • Accuracy of title? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by justinbach (1002761) on Friday April 06, 2007 @08:50AM (#18633479) Homepage
    What about "squirting" device-to-device? I didn't see anything about this in the article, but then again I didn't read it very carefully (this is /., after all...) I can only assume that because the Zune DRM-izes just about every song on your device when sharing, even those that you recorded yourself, EMI songs will probably still suffer from the 3-days/3-plays restriction...though I suppose MS could just argue that lifting the restriction would just encourage piracy.

    Still, I don't think it's fair to call this DRM-free until all the digital rights management restrictions have been lifted.
  • by Zetta Matrix (245803) on Friday April 06, 2007 @08:50AM (#18633481)
    If I'm not mistaken, Bill Gates has paraded around in recent times saying that "customers want [DRM]"? It's ok to say you're wrong, Bill.
  • Indeed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by igotmybfg (525391) <slashdot AT danielthompson DOT net> on Friday April 06, 2007 @08:51AM (#18633497) Homepage
    Of course they're aware that that's what consumers want. I think it's also pretty obvious that they don't like it, though, because it goes against their traditional strategy of vendor lockin.
  • Since when? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vivaoporto (1064484) on Friday April 06, 2007 @08:52AM (#18633499)
    'We've been saying for a while that we are aware that consumers want to have unprotected content.'

    Since when? As far as I know, what they are trying is to provide the ultimate protection to content, from the file format [microsoft.com] to the media player software [microsoft.com] to the output hardware [microsoft.com].
  • by RDW (41497) on Friday April 06, 2007 @08:53AM (#18633519)
    5) They release the tracks as unprotected (but iPod-incompatible) WMA and find they don't sell any better, then claim that consumers aren't really interested in DRM-free tracks.
  • Re:no thanks to MS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by garcia (6573) on Friday April 06, 2007 @08:55AM (#18633549) Homepage
    Interesting how MS plays this as "opening up" things for the consumer. We'll see. I wonder how much progress MS has really made unencumbering consumers' music.

    Even for Apple and EMI this isn't opening things up for anyone. It's charging more for the same fucking shit you would get from a CD while approaching or even surpassing the cost of the physical media while not having the physical media to keep or uncompressed and high quality audio.

    I'm tired of this entire EMI thing. I'm not fucking impressed at all.
  • by blueZhift (652272) on Friday April 06, 2007 @09:15AM (#18633729) Homepage Journal
    I think that this is just more evidence that Apple's success with iTunes with respect to market share really put the record companies over a barrel. They've wanted to raise the price of tracks from 99 cents for a long time now, but apparently didn't have the leverage over Apple to make them do it. Without higher per track prices on iTunes, there was no way they could get it at any competitors, who were already at a huge disadvantage anyway.

    So when Jobs started talking about removing DRM, probably not just a coincidence, it set the stage for EMI to offer DRM free tracks, but at a higher price per track. It looks as if stripping DRM was the price of raising the price per track. Perhaps the record companies are realizing that removing DRM is the only way in the near term of loosening Apple's grip on the digital music market. Of course it is interesting to note that the DRM-less tracks from iTunes will be in AAC format which, while other players can support it, will tend to keep most people in the iPod fold since converting to other formats like MP3 is a hassle most consumers would prefer not to be bothered with. So I would look for growth in the number of AAC supporting players.
  • Re:In MP3? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <(bert) (at) (slashdot.firenzee.com)> on Friday April 06, 2007 @09:15AM (#18633741) Homepage
    While i do object to microsoft's use of a proprietary format even for DRM free music... I don't object to Apple's, since AAC is a standard format, the only non standard component Apple used was the DRM, without that AAC is simply a newer and improved version of MP3.
    If your player doesnt support it, there's nothing to stop you converting the file, although you will suffer a slight drop in quality due to transcoding and MP3 being an inferior format. Alternatively, you can wait for more players to support AAC, or buy an ipod which already does.
  • by blueZ3 (744446) on Friday April 06, 2007 @09:15AM (#18633743) Homepage
    Every time someone does something cool, Microsoft always has to chime in. It's like the annoying little brother who is always following you around; whenever you say anything, he always says "Me too!" and then goes on to explain how what he did is even better. For anyone who didn't have a younger sibling growing up, it's hard to overstate the annoyance factor.

    Netscape revolutionizes the Web -- MS creates free Internet Explorer. OSX introduces Expose, the Dock, and Widgets -- four years later Vista "innovates" with duplicate features. Apple rakes in millions with the iPod -- Microsoft creates poo-colored, squirting Zune. Google goes IPO -- MS announces "all-new, improved, better-than-ever" MSN search. Apple announces DRM-free music -- you guessed it: Me too! Me too! Me too!

    I don't hate Microsoft (though sometimes it seems like they work awfully hard to make people hate them) but I'm not buying their "We want to eliminate DRM too" PR either. Microsoft's media file format, software, hardware player, and store are all strong arguments that that's a load of monkey excrement.
  • by straponego (521991) on Friday April 06, 2007 @10:25AM (#18634655)
    No, and if they were $100/album, I wouldn't buy 5 albums and one more every two months. I think that the field of economics has a term for this phenomenon. Maybe you could look that up. Or you could read my original post. This time see if you can't manage to glance at every sentence.
  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EonBlueTooL (974478) on Friday April 06, 2007 @11:00AM (#18635177)
    Because apple/google(or $random_company) have never been guilty of copying something other companies are doing. Shouldnt that be the secondary focus of EVERY company? What is the competition doing and how can we do it better?
  • by animaal (183055) on Friday April 06, 2007 @11:08AM (#18635317)

    Sure iTunes isn't the absolute cheapest way to get it, but the tradeoff of price/convenience seems reasonable to me.
    I would have thought that until recently, but now I appreciate having:

    1) lossless sound encoding on my good audio equipment
    2) a physical backup, also lossless
    3) an asset that can be re-sold when I no longer want it.

    The way I look at it, with a CD I get all three of the above, and it costs no more than a lossy data file from iTunes that can't be re-sold.
  • by rilister (316428) on Friday April 06, 2007 @11:34AM (#18635655)
    ahh. The beautiful visual effects of the Slashdot reality distortion field.

    so in the case of 2, what would we have to complain about? *If* people don't care and don't preferentially buy DRM-free, do you expect major labels to remove DRM restrictions despite the fact they would have proven that the market wasn't interested? They aren't sitting up in their offices working out how to make Slashdot-ters happy, y'know.

    And even more telling, option 4 seems to define the word 'innovate' as 'do exactly what we want'. They sell music: they have relatively few options. With media, without. Without media options they've now tried: with copyright control, without and a subscription model. Even a micro-payment model assumes that they can measure and control the number of times you listen to a given track/file. Radio already exists: free access to music to 'test' (see Pandora, Last FM), which the labels noticeably haven't shut down (thanks to the DMCA, believe it or not).

    How about proposing some new ideas? What innovation were you thinking of which isn't covered by what they are trying now? I'm genuinely curious...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 06, 2007 @12:41PM (#18636609)

    Netscape revolutionizes the Web -- MS creates free Internet Explorer.
    You're actually criticizing Microsoft for creating an alternate front-end for the World Wide Web? Did you also criticize alternates for the first apps for e-mail, ftp, and online chat?

    OSX introduces Expose, the Dock, and Widgets -- four years later Vista "innovates" with duplicate features.
    Expose is superior to Vista's Flip 3D, but they hardly resemble each other. Flip 3D likely would have existed even if Expose didn't exist because it just shows off Vista's 3D compositing windowing system (which NEXT did first, AFAIK).

    How the fuck does Vista copy the Dock? The bottom of Windows's screen has had a taskbar and system tray (clock, sound, and other icons) since Windows 95. Quicklaunch icons (including minimize/restore all windows) were added with Windows 98.

    Vista's Sidebar made its first appearence in Vista builds in September 2002 [wikipedia.org]. This predates OS X's Dashboard/Widgets (OS X 10.4, April 2005) and even Konfabulator/Widgets (February 2003).

    I don't hate Microsoft
    Your comment indicates otherwise, fanboy.
  • by kjart (941720) on Friday April 06, 2007 @12:48PM (#18636699)

    Not only that but they innovated the idea before Apple ever did !!

    Claiming this is Apple "innovation" is as ridiculous as claiming this is Microsoft "innovation". Give credit where credit is due - bravo EMI.

  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Friday April 06, 2007 @01:38PM (#18637481)
    How is bgates the bad guy here? Because his new OS plays bluray? Take that up with the bluray people and Sony. If you want the worlds worst DRM offender, look at the ITMS. ITMS has made DRM and everyday thing for Joe and Jane Sixpack.

    Or you can sit around and complain about microsoft, thus making sure no one knows how wrong Apple is and, as usual, continue to accomplish nothing but whine and moan.

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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