DRM may be going away on music

Digital Rights Management (DRM) may be on its way out. Amazon has announced it intends to get into the music business and will offer only digital tunes that do not have DRM, which limits what buyers can do with the music.

Amazon has enough clout that it may succeed where other companies have failed, but even Amazon may not make much headway against Apple's iTunes Store, which is also beginning to introduce DRM-free music. Amazon will offer the music in MP3 format, which is not quite as good in sound quality as the AAC lossless format used by Apple.

It is also not clear how many music companies will offer music without DRM. Right now, Amazon has only one record company willing to do so.

One myth that has been repeated in some other stories on this topic is that iTunes music only plays on iPods. This is dead wrong, and has never been true. You can easily move iTunes music around and it is possible to play the tunes on MP3 players made by competitors.

Apple has consistently said it will remove DRM if the music companies will let it, and it appears that cracks are beginning to appear in the stubborn resistance (so far) of the music companies to sell music without DRM.

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