Posted on 04 Feb, 2007 - [Bookmark at Del.icio.us](http://del.icio.us/post?url=http://www.side-line.com/side-line_blog_comments.php?id=P20529_0_45_0&title=Mainstream download shops go DRM free)
<!-- google_ad_section_start-->3 important download services, FNAC and Virginmega from France, along with Canada's Puretracks, are each making a change in their business model - moving from heavily DRM-laden WMA files to MP3. This switch is happening for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the hope of the French retailers to sell music files that can be played on the iPods that are flying off the shelves of their physical retail stores.
The rumour is also that at least one of the four major record companies would move toward the sale of unrestricted digital files in the MP3 format within the coming months after a few tests were quite satisfying.
Why this sudden move ? Well, first of all there is the news that digital music sales, although 80-percent stronger than the year before, grew slower than they did in 2005 ( Engadget.com). Going the MP3 way would mean that the shops and labels offer more freedom to the costumers thus tearing down one of the obstacles to sell downloads. One observation I have here is that although slowing down according to some, the downloads are still going strong, very strong. It's true, at the moment they fail to compensate for the decline in physical disc sales, but if you see that they are only good for 5 to 10% of the total market one has to see that there is still a lot of space to be conquered and that is where the futur lays for every label.
Fail to catch the download train now and you may close your doors in a few years from now. It is an extra revenue stream that will not cease to become stronger. Now, I wonder how Apple will handle this as iTunes was the first big outlet using DRM.<!-- google_ad_section_end-->