iTunes DRM-Free Licensing Moves Continue, PIAS Latest

PIAS Revenue Grew 18% in 2017

Outside of EMI, major labels continue to refuse DRM-free licensing on the iTunes Store.

The holdout mostly amounts to gamesmanship, and many executives expect a DRM-free licensing nod after a period of months.  In the meantime, Apple has been quietly licensing DRM-free content from various independents and digital distributors, and beefing the protection-free iTunes Plus in the process.

It’s not hard to convince independents to go DRM-free.  That’s been their digital language for years, and iTunes simply represents a bigger venue.  Already, independent labels and distributors like Sub Pop, Nettwerk, IODA, and The Orchard have licensed iTunes, part of two-million strong iTunes Plus catalog.

And just this weekend, Brussels-based PIAS Entertainment Group licensed roughly 44,000 DRM-free tracks from its roster of 200 labels.  PIAS, which offers a range of services to its member labels, will offer its content as unprotected AACs at 99-cents each – just like the other labels.  Value-added offerings involving Ticketmaster and iTunes ringtones are also being bundled.