Apple, EMI and now Zune to drop DRM?

2 April 2007 No Comment Mike Evans

Microsoft Zune MP3 player
Apple and, more significantly, EMI made the momentous announcement today that the entire digital catalogue of EMI’s tunes for sale on Apple’s iTunes service will come without DRM. Maybe I should repeat that: NO DRM WHATSOEVER!

In what many pundits are calling a watershed day in the history of then music industry (at least in its online offerings), EMI’s decision, which is warmly welcomed, is reckoned by many to be just the start, with the other labels having to follow suit.

But it won’t just be the record labels that are affected by this announcement: Microsoft may be about to unhobble its Zune MP3 player and drop its ridiculous DRM restrictions, enabling free wireless music sharing from Zune to Zune.

Upon hearing Apple and EMI’s news, Engadget thoughtfully asked Microsoft how this would affect the Zune. The Zune, if you recall, comes preloaded with Wi-Fi, but unhelpfully restricts the wireless sharing of music so that someone who downloads a tune from your Zune can only play it three times.

Microsoft’s response was:

“Consumers have indicated [having DRM free music] is important to them so Zune has been working with a variety of partners to head in this direction. This is a time of transition for the music industry and Microsoft is committed to striking a balance between delivering the best consumer experience while still protecting the rights of the content owners…Our role continues to be to deliver flexible DRM technology that provides choice for the content owner in how they distribute their content and choice for the consumer so that they have access to a wide variety of high-quality content and ways to enjoy that content.”

In other words, Microsoft are working to free up the Zune and let users actually share tunes between players. At long last!

[Source: Engadget]

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