Music majors explore new horizons

Yahoo! turns to DRM-free MP3s, while Sony Ericsson expands its PlayNow mobile service from ringtones to music tracks

20 Sep 2006

Having finally woken up to the potential of the Internet to get new musicians heard by a large number of people at little cost, the music majors are now using the medium to try and promote newer artists by offering fans an attractive new proposition - MP3 versions of albums with no DRM attached.

First out of the gate is the new album from tweenie heart throb Jesse McCartney. Yahoo! Music is offering the album 'Right Where You Want Me' for download in either MP3 or WMA format for $9.99 without copy protection. Earlier this year, Yahoo! sold a DRM-free version of a Jessica Simpson single.

Apparently McCartney is looking to change his sound to appeal to an older and hipper crowd. According to Yahoo's Jay Frank, Yahoo! Music will help get Jesse's new music discovered by both old and new fans, as well as empower them to purchase songs with no restrictions'

Also entering into the increasingly crowded downloadable music market is M Buzz from Sony Ericsson.

The service is designed as a showcase for musicians from Sony/ATV's stable of artists and will offer full tracks, videos, biographies and tour dates. among those to be featured at launch are bands such as Kish Mauve, Embassy, Dirty Perfect, FKLV, Iggy, The Head Set, Bobby Kray, Anjulie, Lights and Monte*Rosa. No, we haven't heard of any of them either.

The service will use Sony Ericsson's PlayNow service. Originally designed as a marketplace for ringtones, it has been upgraded to include full music tracks and allows consumers to download music to Sony Ericsson phones.

The full service will launch on 2 October in the twenty marketplaces PlayNow is already available. The first phones offering M-BUZZ will be the W850 and W950 Walkman phones announced earlier this year and scheduled to arrive on European, Asian and Latin American shelves towards the end of the year.

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