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January 28, 2008

Yahoo Working on a Major DRM Free Music Store

Yahoo is working on a DRM free music store.  Don't expect anything imminent, but that end would be welcome on the competition front.  One of the problems with the brave new world of legal music downloads is that outside of iTunes and the iPod, everyone looks the same.  The article in Ars Technica that describes this development suggests a few ways stores can distinguish themselves from each other.  Different bit rates, lossless formats (that one would hook me), or simply other formats and varied pricing are all possibilities. 

I agree with pronouncements that the album is dead, more or less.  But that's the music retailing business at work.  For a contrary view, go here.  Some music is definitely meant to be heard in the context of an album, but most artists (other than Radiohead and a few others) release song collections in spite of their protestations to the contrary.  This is nothing new.  Even performances in the old-time world of opera and ballet frequently cut sections of music for artistic or time considerations.  Take the musically cohesive Ziggy Stardust album by David Bowie.  One could easily lose the only cover song, It Ain't Easy, and still appreciate the record.  There are other examples of double albums (the Beatles White Album comes to mind) that could easily be cut down to size.  Selling collections as singles makes the artists compete for sales.  There's nothing wrong with that.

January 28, 2008 | Permalink

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