Sony BMG is now reportedly flirting with a limited DRM-free concept, a move that comes amidst considerable market pressure.
According to a Billboard report Thursday, the major label is planning to position artist-specific download cards throughout a number of major retailers in January. The cards will be redeemable online, and carry a collection of MP3s. The strategy mirrors the successful iTunes Store download cards offered by Apple, a popular stocking stuffer and a last-minute sweetener at many Starbucks counters.
If the plan materializes, the move would represent a rather abrupt shift in strategy for Sony BMG. The label has traditionally been one of the most protectionist, and top digital executive Thomas Hesse has repeatedly championed DRM-based strategies. But that approach could close future opportunities for Sony BMG, including participation in an upcoming mega-promotion involving Amazon and Pepsi. Meanwhile, the preferred format for most music fans continues to be MP3, whether purchased or swapped.
Story by news analyst Alexandra Osorio.