Actual News Alert: Amazon to Sell Digital Music DRM-free

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That’s about it. The press release says they’ll offer music in plain-old MP3 format from 12,000 music labels, which I had no idea there were even that many. The release specifically mentions EMI, which suggests — circumstantially — that EMI is the only major on board. In a way this was an inevitable development: Amazon has been selling DRM-free music for years, in large quantities, in an obscure technophile format known as the “CD.”

There’s no mention of pricing — they’re going to have a hard time pushing this stuff to non-copyright-freaks if it’s more than the iTunes-standard $.99, even though right now iTunes is only planning to offer DRM-free music with premium pricing (i.e. $1.29). And there’s no way Amazon will match the selection and ease of use on iTunes. It’s gotta be a loss leader, good for internal cross-promotions, not much else. But it’ll put some pressure on Apple to make DRM-free music the standard.

The discussion on Slashdot is quite interesting, though you may want to scroll past the plaintive cries in support of Ogg Vorbis…