Top 5 Sites For DRM-Free Music Plus 2 Dishonorable Mentions

SEATTLE (Hypebot) –

1. Amazon – All DRM free – all the

time. 2.3 million mp3's from EMI and Universal and a ton of

indies at variable prices from $.89 to $.99 with most albums

from $4.99 to $9.99. Blame selection problems on the labels;

not Amazon.

2. eMusic – Until Amazon, these guys were #1, but

with some labels leaving and competitors expanding, how long

will eMusic stay #2? For now, you have to subscribe and won't

find any major labels; but if you like indie music you can't

beat $.33 per song or less …which of course is why some

labels are leaving.


3. WalMart – Yup, WalMart.com. There's no

indie product available (and they can't blame shelf space), but

lots of tracks from both EMI and Universal and most of them are

priced at a low $.88.

4. Real/Rhapsody – These guys do music

subscriptions and streaming better than anyone. On the DRM-free

front, however, you'll only find limited major label mp3's. But

their CEO was brave enough to be the first to publicaly call

for DRM free and with the recent partnership with MTV, you can

expect interesting changes ahead. Next time Hypebot publishes

this list Rhapsody could be #3 or even #2.

5. 7Digital

I'd rank this innovative UK digital retailer in the Top 2 or 3

if they would just add purchases in US dollars and perhaps

euros. But more than half of their extensive catalog is in

mp3's with lots of unique offerings. Worth a look even if you

get slammed by your credit card company for the conversion.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS –

iTunes

Way back in February Steve Jobs railed against DRM and called

on record labels to drop it. Now 8 months later iTunes has

made virtually no indie product available DRM-free and the

major label label it does sell without copy protection is in

the less than universal AAC format.

Napster – No DRM free product at all. When

asked why ,they said they'd change when enough was available so

that multiple formats didn't confuse the customer. But Amazon

and eMusic each found than 2 million+ DRM-free tracks, and

WalMart and Rhapsody found ways to inform consumers.


Can you add any honorable or dishonorable mentions? What

are your favorite places to purchase DRM free downloads?

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