Universal Snubs iTunes In Its Plan for DRM-Free Music Sales
By Scott Gilbertson August 10, 2007 10:11:25 AMCategories: Music
Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music label, has announced it will sell a limited selection of its massive catalog in DRM-free form. Interestingly, Universal is excluding Apple’s iTunes Store from the offer.
The new program will be available through services from Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon and others starting in January.
So why not sell the new DRM free tracks through iTunes? According to The Los Angeles Times, Universal says it excluded Apple so that “iTunes could serve as a ‘control group’ to make sales comparisons easier.”
The more likely reason is that Universal is simply afraid of giving iTunes any more power than it already has when it comes to online music, DRMed or otherwise. By excluding iTunes and at the same time dropping DRM, Universal is hoping to steal sales away from Apple and bring them back into the Universal fold via partners it can control.
In essence, some sort of power struggle between Jobs and Universal has convinced Universal to do what no amount of consumer complaining and declining sales figures could: drop the DRM.
Whatever the case, Universal’s DRM-free tracks are a win for consumers. The question remains: are you willing to deal with Wal-Mart or BestBuy to get them?