Amazon Invests In DRM-Free Music Site - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Software // Information Management
06:43 PM
Connect Directly

Amazon Invests In DRM-Free Music Site

AmieStreet combines social networking with music sales and features a variable pricing mode that starts free.

Raising its bet on unprotected digital music, has invested in, an innovative digital music site. The terms of the deal, announced by on Monday, were not disclosed.

AmieStreet combines social networking with music sales. It features a variable pricing model where songs start free and rise in price as more people download and buy the music, up to a maximum of 98 cents. None of AmieStreet's songs come with copy-inhibiting technology known as digital rights management or digital restriction management (DRM).

Apple's online iTunes Store sells songs with DRM tags for 99 cents and some without it for $1.29.

AmieStreet members who recommend songs earn credits toward the purchase of additional music, based on the popularity of the recommended material.

" grew from the idea that we needed to make buying music social and fun," said AmieStreet's co-founder and CEO Elliott Breece, in a statement. "The Amie Street community took over from there, driving a shift toward a music marketplace where consumers decide what is popular and what music is worth."

In May, Amazon said that it planned to open a digital music store later this year featuring millions of songs in the unprotected MP3 file format from more than 12,000 record labels. Unprotected MP3 files will play on any device that supports the format, including Windows and Mac PCs, Apple iPod, Microsoft Zune, and Creative's Zen MP3 player.

"Our MP3-only strategy means all the music that customers buy on Amazon is always DRM-free and plays on any device," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO, in May, echoing sentiments voiced earlier in the year by Apple CEO Steve Jobs that DRM should go.

EMI Music, one of the record labels that will be selling unprotected MP3 files on, made waves in April when it became the first major label to disavow DRM by striking a deal with Apple to sell its music through iTunes without any kind of copy protection. In an earnings statement released on Monday, EMI said, "Early revenue indications for this initiative are encouraging." The company reported that digital revenue increased by 13.2% between April 1 and Aug. 6. In April, Apple said that more than half of its iTunes music inventory would be DRM-free by the end of the year.

But not everyone is so keen to give consumers control over their music. Nokia yesterday announced an agreement to use Microsoft's PlayReady DRM technology on its S60 and Series 40 mobile phone next year.

In March, the NPD Group reported that in 2006, there were almost 13 million households using a paid digital music download services, three times more than the company reported in 2004. In 2006, consumers purchased more than 500 million music files, up 56% from the year before. They also downloaded 5 billion files through P2P networks, a 47% increase from 2005.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2021 Outlook: Tackling Cloud Transformation Choices
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  1/4/2021
Enterprise IT Leaders Face Two Paths to AI
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  12/23/2020
10 IT Trends to Watch for in 2021
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/22/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
Flash Poll