iTunes DRM-Free Licensing Moves Continue, PIAS Latest

PIAS Revenue Grew 18% in 2017
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In the world of digital music, DRM (Digital Rights Management) has been a hot topic for quite some time. While DRM was initially introduced to protect the rights of copyright holders, it has been a controversial topic for music lovers and industry players alike. Major labels, including EMI, have been hesitant to offer DRM-free licensing on the iTunes Store. However, this holdout may soon come to an end.

Many experts believe that the major labels’ refusal of DRM-free licensing on the iTunes Store is merely gamesmanship. These executives expect that Apple will eventually give the green light for DRM-free licensing after a period of months. In the meantime, Apple has been quietly licensing DRM-free content from various independents and digital distributors and expanding the protection-free iTunes Plus in the process.

While major labels are reluctant to go DRM-free, it’s not difficult to convince independents to do so. DRM-free content has been a digital language for independents for years, and iTunes only represents a bigger venue. As a result, independent labels and distributors like Sub Pop, Nettwerk, IODA, and The Orchard have licensed iTunes, contributing to the over two-million strong iTunes Plus catalog.

This weekend, Brussels-based PIAS Entertainment Group licensed roughly 44,000 DRM-free tracks from its roster of 200 labels. PIAS offers a range of services to its member labels and will now 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.

This move by PIAS is a significant step in the right direction for the DRM-free movement. It’s a clear indication that the music industry is starting to realize that DRM is not the solution to piracy. In fact, DRM can be counterproductive, as it limits the portability of music and restricts the ways in which music lovers can enjoy their music.

Apple has been leading the charge in the DRM-free movement, and its iTunes Plus service has been a success. iTunes Plus offers a catalog of high-quality, DRM-free music at a slightly higher price point than regular iTunes music. Apple’s decision to go DRM-free has been praised by many in the industry, including independent labels and music lovers.

While it may take some time for major labels to fully embrace DRM-free licensing, the industry is slowly moving in that direction. The rise of digital music has disrupted the traditional music industry, and DRM-free licensing is just one of the many changes that the industry is undergoing.

In conclusion, the refusal of DRM-free licensing by major labels on the iTunes Store is mostly gamesmanship. Many expect that Apple will eventually give the green light for DRM-free licensing after a period of months. Meanwhile, independents have been leading the charge in the DRM-free movement, and the recent move by PIAS is a significant step in the right direction. With the rise of digital music, the industry is slowly moving towards DRM-free licensing, and it’s a welcomed change for music lovers and independent labels alike.