More Details Surface On Universal Music, DRM-Free Move

Additional details surfaced Friday on an upcoming, DRM-free experiment being triggered by Universal Music Group.

The move, which first emerged Thursday, involves a broad range of online music retailers – except for iTunes.  Universal previously disclosed experimental partnerships with RealNetworks, Google, Amazon, and Wal-Mart.  On Friday morning, the mega-label also pointed Digital Music News to deals involving Best Buy, Trans World Entertainment, Passalong Networks and Puretracks.  A number of artist and label websites will also position the content, including sum41.com, evefans.com, common-music.com, ryan-adams.com, blaqkaudio.com, dianakrall.com, sectionquartet.com, defjam.com, and islandrecords.com.

Participating partners will be given the liberty to offer tracks in the DRM-free codec of their choosing.  In most cases, MP3 will be the selection, and RealNetworks has already confirmed this choice.  Furthermore, Universal also indicated that most retailers will position the DRM-free tracks at the same price point as protected content.

Another interesting aspect of the play involves Google.  Universal will offer its tracks as contextual advertisements within Google AdWords, and direct queries to ecommerce destination gbox.com.  “Because many consumers are searching for music and music-related news and information online, Google is a powerful way to drive consumers to this test,” a Universal representative said.  The DRM experiment begins later this month, and continues through January.