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Microsoft Businesses Media Music Your Rights Online

Microsoft Set to Unlock EMI Songs, Too 171

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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  • Just for the record (Score:5, Informative)

    by Taagehornet ( 984739 ) on Friday April 06, 2007 @10:24AM (#18633827)

    If I'm not mistaken

    But you are [] (well, at least the real picture is a bit more muddled)

    Gates said that no one is satisfied with the current state of DRM, which "causes too much pain for legitmate buyers" while trying to distinguish between legal and illegal uses. He says no one has done it right, yet. There are "huge problems" with DRM, he says, and "we need more flexible models, such as the ability to "buy an artist out for life" (not sure what he means). He also criticized DRM schemes that try to install intelligence in each copy so that it is device specific.

    His short term advice: "People should just buy a cd and rip it. You are legal then."
  • Re:no thanks to MS (Score:5, Informative)

    by badasscat ( 563442 ) <> on Friday April 06, 2007 @10:33AM (#18633935)
    It probably goes without saying, but this isn't some initiative on MS' part. It's riding Jobs' coattails, crying "me too!, me too!", as if MS is some kind of crusader for consumers' rights around music and DRM.

    I think you need to go back and read EMI's announcement []. Some relevant quotes (emphasis added):

    "From today, EMI's retailers will be offered downloads of tracks and albums in the DRM-free audio format of their choice in a variety of bit rates up to CD quality."

    "EMI's new DRM-free products will enable full interoperability of digital music across all devices and platforms."

    "Apple's iTunes Store ( is the first online music store to receive EMI's new premium downloads."

    EMI had always planned to make its catalog available to anyone that wants it, not just through iTunes and not just AAC files. The only exclusivity Apple ever had was in making the co-announcement.
  • Re:Since when? (Score:5, Informative)

    by tb3 ( 313150 ) on Friday April 06, 2007 @10:37AM (#18633983) Homepage
    Is this the same Jason Reindorp who said, "Mr. Jobs's call for unrestricted music sales was "irresponsible, or at the very least naïve," ( sic.html?pagewanted=2&ei=5070&en=82b92ed0fed4782b& ex=1176004800 [])?
    This is just Microsoft spin at its quickest.
    (Although he did also say, ""the stars were already aligning" to loosen the restrictions." (Ibid). Nothing like CYA.
  • Price comparison (Score:3, Informative)

    by AlpineR ( 32307 ) <> on Friday April 06, 2007 @11:09AM (#18634445) Homepage

    Some facts to accompany your quip:

    Coldplay's album "X&Y" is an EMI release.

    Full album from iTunes Store = $11.99
    Full album from Amazon = $11.97 + S&H
    Full album from Best Buy = $13.99 in store
    Full album from Caiman via Amazon Used & New = $11.93 with shipping

    Sure iTunes isn't the absolute cheapest way to get it, but the tradeoff of price/convenience seems reasonable to me. Get it within minutes from iTunes, or pay $2.00 more and pick it up at Best Buy, or save $0.06 and get it in a few days from Caiman. I never thought the cost of the physical media was ever a big factor in the price of music.


  • Re:no thanks to MS (Score:5, Informative)

    by porcupine8 ( 816071 ) on Friday April 06, 2007 @11:10AM (#18634463) Journal
    DRM-free albums (not individual songs) will still be $9.99 in iTMS. If you can always get major release CDs for less than that, you must have a relative who works for EMI or something. Sure, maybe it's technically lower quality - but I know I sure as hell can't tell the difference between 256 kbs and a CD (which I'd just rip anyhow).
  • Re:.wma in iTunes (Score:2, Informative)

    by Monsterdog ( 985765 ) on Friday April 06, 2007 @12:05PM (#18635267)
    iTunes will indeed convert unprotected .wma files to your choice of AAC or MP3, using the quality levels you set for CD ripping. There's also a number of conversion utilities around that will do the job as well. I'll be shocked if Microsoft abandons their PlaysForShit scheme altogether. If that happens it might have a cascade effect and cause all but the monthly fee setups (such as Napster and Rhapsody) to follow suit -- after all, who wants to see their sales go completely to shit because nobody wants to buy DRM crippled tracks? It could also be good for eMusic. It might make more labels willing to license their catalogs through them. I wouldn't be surprised to see eMusic add a new level, if that's the case, where specific albums command a higher price point, while the majority of back catalog travels under their current (raised) pricing.
  • Re:.wma in iTunes (Score:4, Informative)

    by acidrain69 ( 632468 ) on Friday April 06, 2007 @12:35PM (#18635673) Journal
    I think you're missing something. Not everyone can really hear the difference. It may be obvious to you, but not to everyone else. Just be happy you have good hearing. Or feel cursed because only you and a few other % of the population qualify as "audiophiles" that would notice.
  • by MojoStan ( 776183 ) on Friday April 06, 2007 @12:41PM (#18635759)

    would they have do so even if Apple didn't convince EMI to drop DRM?
    Did Apple ever claim they convinced EMI to drop DRM? EMI claims they approached Apple with this idea [].

    Remember, EMI and Yahoo Music have been testing the waters with DRM-free MP3s and WMAs since at least July with music by Jessica Simpson, Jesse McCartney, Norah Jones, and Relient K. Steve's bold open letter was posted one month ago.

  • by snarkbot ( 1074793 ) on Friday April 06, 2007 @12:47PM (#18635861)
    This might get modded "Redundant," but I've seen so many arguments below about who copied whose idea, who's pretending to innovate, who is good, and who is evil, that I thought it would be helpful to point out:

    EMI approached Apple. []

    They also said they would be fine with other stores doing it. Chances are pretty high that they also approached Microsoft, probably simultaneously, and that the details just took longer to hammer out and MS didn't want Apple to take all of the credit. Note the "may be close to signing a deal" language -- it takes a long time for big companies to get a deal signed.


    p.s. It is possible MS saw Apple doing it before they considered it, but that's a pretty damned quick turnaround time for a deal like this.
  • Re:Price comparison (Score:2, Informative)

    by maxume ( 22995 ) on Friday April 06, 2007 @01:13PM (#18636179)
    No, try reading the original comment again. Notice how the author made a special effort to quote the new on Amazon price as '+' shipping and the used and new on Amazon prices as 'with' shipping. If you check here: ref=dp_olp_2/102-5677357-7273756 []

    you will realize that the used and new price intentionally included the shipping in the price quote.

When you are working hard, get up and retch every so often.