New York: Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music label, announced that it would test the sale of songs from artists such as Amy Winehouse, 50 Cent and the Black Eyed Peas, without customary copy-protection technology.
The company said it would allow the sale of thousands of its albums and tracks available in MP3-form without copy-protection software, known as digital rights management, over a trial period.
Universal’s test-run marks a departure for the music industry’s common practice, with most major recording studios insisting that music sellers use DRM technology to curb online piracy.
“The experiment will run from August to January and analyze such factors as consumer demand, price sensitivity and piracy with respect to the availability of open MP3s,” Universal said.
Vendors including Google, Wal-Mart, and Amazon.com Inc., who have agreed to participate in the DRM-free trial, Universal confirmed.
But missing from the list of participants is Apple Inc.’s iTunes online music store, the third largest music retailer in the United States.
They also informed that songs which are purchased through the programme will be allowed to play on a range of MP3 players, including Apple’s popular iPod.