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april 17, 2007:
the dam is breaking: drm is over
amazon to launch mp3 download store in may; universal on board

It’s a new game now. I have always thought that Jeff Bezos is one of the smartest guys around, but this latest development will probably send Amazon’s stock through the roof. Amazon has a huge amount of trust and user loyalty, tens of millions of faithful users, and over a million online affiliates – once they go out with an MP3-based digital music offering everyone else will have to run for cover (but hey, Apple still won’t care – they just make the coolest devices!). I predict that Amazon will become the biggest seller of digital music within 12–18 months once all the labels go with this new tidal shift (away from DRM). Well, of course, they really don’t have a choice, do they? I also predict that within three months of launching complete MP3-based services, all retailers will start bundling digital music with other products, therefore drastically reducing the effective, user-paid price for music, and leading to explosive purchase behavior that will ring in a whole new era for the music industry.

As I have always said: Stop chasing total control, and start receiving more $$$ instead.

From Digital Media Wire: Report: Amazon to Launch MP3 Download Store in May; Universal on Board Submitted by Mark Hefflinger on April 16, 2007 – 11:03am.
New York – Online retail giant Amazon.com is poised to launch its own digital music download store in May that will sell songs in the unprotected MP3 format, Billboard reported. Amazon declined to comment for the story on its entry into a market currently dominated by Apple’s iTunes Store. Label sources told Billboard that some are waiting un- til after it launches, or until a major label signs on before they decide whether to support the service; others are negotiating with Amazon over a premium price to be charged for higherfidelity 256K MP3 downloads.

Billboard also reports that major label Universal Music Group plans to test the sale of unprotected songs at the Amazon store and other retailers, including some of its classical catalog and music from other genres. The news follows fellow major label EMI’s recent announcement that it would sell songs as unprotected MP3s on iTunes and other services. Amazon ditched plans last year to launch a subscription-based service utilizing Microsoft’s Windows Media Audio format, after Microsoft closed off its Zune player to competing services.