Sony BMG took a major step away from digital content protection on Thursday by licensing MP3s to Amazon.
The move, largely expected, closes a highly-successful licensing round for Amazon, a company that initially started with participation from EMI Music only. An Amazon executive noted that the Sony BMG MP3s will be layered into the store “later this month,” though a specific date was not offered.
In line with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, Sony BMG has offered its DRM-free catalog to Amazon first, and not iTunes. That is part of a larger plan to tilt the playing field away from Apple, whose dominance has allowed it to dictate digital pricing and packaging terms to labels. Now, Amazon is loaded with a full catalog of MP3s, and a complete war-chest for 2008. “Our Amazon MP3 customers will be able to choose from a full selection of DRM-free music downloads from all four major labels and over 33,000 independents that they can play on virtually any music-capable device,” said Bill Carr, vice president for Digital Music at Amazon.com.