Friday, Universal Music announced that it, too, was going to try DRM-free music downloads. This follows EMI’s April announcement of its premium priced DRM-free downloads on the iTunes Store, that became available on May 30.
Interestingly, Universal is trying an experiment both for DRM and alternate sales channels. As Forbes reported:
Universal is shutting out Apple's iTunes Store from its trial run. Why? Because it wants to use iTunes as a control group against which to compare its sale of DRM-free downloads elsewhere.This is more than just a DRM experiment — Universal is trying how much traffic it can steer away from the iTunes Store, which accounts for about 70% of US downloads. And perhaps trying to get Apple’s attention. Of course, if it doesn’t dramatically shift traffic away from the iTunes Store, then Universal will have proven how dependent it is on Apple.
Among the online vendors participating in Universal's test run will be Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, Google, Best Buy, Rhapsody from RealNetworks, Trans World Entertainment, Passalong Networks and Puretracks.
Meanwhile, at LinuxWorld, the FSFanatics were handing out stickers promoting their “Defective by Design” anti-DRM slogan. If DRM is so awful, then don’t buy it. But what gives a bunch of activists the right to ban a voluntary choice between content owners and their distribution channel?
Graphic credit: Free Software Foundation via Flickr.