Posts Tagged ‘Sony BMG’

Vodafone Music's DRM-free move makes Apple and Nokia look bad

Vodafone, which currently operates music download stores in over 20 countries, is to become the latest company to jump on the DRM-free bandwagon, announcing this week that it will soon be transitioning its music catalog away from the copy-protected WMA format to standard MP3s. Additionally, customers will be able to covert their existing Vodafone purchases to DRM-free versions at no extra charge, unlike Apple’s current iTunes arrangement where users wishing to ‘upgrade’ are effectively asked to pay twice.

That’s the good news as far as Vodafone is concerned. The bad: only three of the four major record labels are on board – Universal Music Group, Sony Music and EMI – with Warner, for now at least, refusing to join in the fun, and the whole DRM-free deal only applies to a la carte downloads not Vodafone’s MusicStation all-you-can eat subscription service.

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A year after launch, free music service Qtrax has all four majors but questions remain

Twelve months ago, free ad-supported music download service Qtrax launched in a blaze of controversy, most notably claiming it had support from all four major record labels, which was news to them. Qtrax is going after the holy grail of music, free and legal downloads, and so it wasn’t surprising that the company faced a licensing uphill battle. A year later and all the “t”s have been crossed and the “i”s dotted: EMI, Warner, Sony BMG and Universal Music are on board, reports AP, and a relaunch is planned for next month. However, a few questions remain.

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Sony BMG joins Nokia's all-you-can-eat music service

Two down, two to go

Sony BMG signs on to Nokia's all-you-can-eat music serviceSony BMG today became the second major label to sign up to Nokia’s ‘Comes With Music’ service, whereby customers who buy a supported handset will get a year of unlimited access to “millions of tracks”. When Nokia first unveiled its all-you-can-eat music offering last December, Universal Music was the sole partner, a natural fit considering that the label has been busy touting its own flat-rate plan known as Total Music. However, the two remaining majors, EMI and Times Warner, have yet to commit to Nokia’s scheme.

The way ‘Comes With Music’ will work is as follows: Consumers who buy a supported Nokia device will have a year of access to Universal Music and Sony BMG’s music catalog, whereby they’ll be able to download tracks to both their mobile handset and Windows PC through the Nokia Music Store. After the year is up, they get to keep any downloaded tracks. To continue accessing new music, however, users are given “a number of attractive options” — aside from purchasing a new ‘Comes With Music’ device and starting another 12 month cycle, they can purchase tracks (download to-own) from the Nokia Music Store, or move on to a Nokia “unlimited access” subscription plan a la Rhapsody.

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We7 signs new indies, Sony BMG streaming by end of month

We7 signs news indies, Sony BMG streaming by end of monthWe7, the UK-based free, advertising-supported online music service backed by Peter Gabriel, has announced new licensing deals with three leading independent labels and distributors: IRIS, InGrooves and BFM Digital. The move adds a further 200,000 tracks to We7’s catalog (now totaling 750,000+), which offers free ad-supported downloads from other independent labels including Sanctuary Records, V2 and Nettwerk.

In early March, the company also unveiled its first major label partner, Sony BMG, who by the end of this month will begin offering free streaming of its music catalog to We7 users in the UK. Sony BMG’s roster includes international artists Bruce Springsteen, Westlife and Foo Fighters, along with British talent such as Mark Ronson, Kasabian and Leona Lewis. In additional to ad-supported streaming, users will be given the option to purchase and download tracks outright, either through We7 or on iTunes.

The partnership with IRIS gives We7 access to music from independent labels such as Scion, Chemikal Underground, Subliminal and Big Dada, while the deal with InGrooves secures tracks from ESL Music, VP Records, Chocolate Industries and A2M Distribution, and BFM Digital distributes labels such as Cristal Records, Disk Eyes and Ana Records.

Disclaimer: We7 is currently a last100 sponsor.

Also see: Q&A: We7 CEO Steve Purdham and Is free legal music service Qtrax too good to be true?

Wal-Mart ditches DRM at a cost

Wal-Mart ditches DRM at a costWhen Wal-Mart first starting selling DRM-free music through its online store, we had one major complaint. Alongside those iPod-friendly MP3s from EMI and Universal Music, sat copy-protected tracks from the two remaining major labels that were only compatible with PCs running Windows and supported PlayForSure devices. A sure way to confuse customers and create a very poor shopping experience, we concluded.

Along with a redesign of the Wal-Mart online music store, the “world’s largest retailer” has finally ditched DRM completely but at a cost. Rather than successfully negotiating licensing deals with the DRM-free holdouts – Sony BMG and Warner Music – Wal-Mart has sacrificed music from those two labels completely (tracks from Sony BMG’s Neil Diamond seem to be the exception, reports Wired).

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