At the recently concluded Macworld conference, among the not so many highlights of the event was Apple’s announcement that it would start selling songs at its iTunes store withouth the usual Digital Rights Managements software. Apple reported that it has already reached an agreement with three major music labels, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group to allow them to sell their music tracks on iTunes minus the said anticopying measures. This is in addition to songs released through another major music company, EMI which has already allowed Apple to do so before.
This development has various implications to both users, music companies, iTunes’ rivals and even perhaps to music artists as well.
For music consumers, this would allow them to move songs they’ve purchased from the iTunes store from one mobile device to another plus they can even start downloading music now from their iPhone through Wi-Fi or 3G connections. They don’t have to connect their iPhone or iPod Touch on their PCs just to be able to purchase songs. Price-wise, the move will reduce the previous $.99 price tag per song to around $.69. This might boost the sales of digital music which incidentally did not do well in the past year.
For iTunes rivals, including Amazon’s MP3 store this poses a serious threat. One of the major reasons why music labels did not allow Apple to sell songs on the iTunes store with DRM was to give other music stores to gain leverage over the iTunes.
Music companies and even the entire music industry will also benefit from this development. Since, iTunes is a popular music store and with Apple’s iPhone and music players getting more popular than ever, digital music sales might get a lift once iPhone and iPod users start purchasing more songs from the iTunes store.
The question now is where does the music artist fall on the line? Would they be happy knowing that their intellectual property is being stripped off anti-copying measures? But then this is the best that the music industry could do, to discourage piracy through P2P sharing tools right?
Will this lift up the slumping digital music industry? A bit perhaps.