Sony BMG releases customized song without copy-protection

Santa Clara (CA) - For the first time in legal music download history, there is a song from a major artists that actually sells without digital rights management (DRM). In a rather surprising move, Sony BMG released Jessica Simpson’s “A Public Affair” went on sale for $2 this week at Yahoo Music without add-on that ties the song to a specific download service and prevents unauthorized duplication of the song.

Don’t expect more commercial online music to drop DRM in favor of a higher price anytime soon. As you might imagine there’s a reason for Sony BMG’s decision: There are 500 different versions of the song, each customized with a specific name Simpson fans can order. According to a report published on USA Today’s website, it would have been too difficult for Sony BMG to release all 500 songs with a copy-protection scheme.

While the label downplays the importance of the deal, Yahoo Music’s Ian Rogers sees a trend: “As you know, we’ve been publicly trying to convince record labels that they should be selling MP3s for a while now.” In a shot at closed platforms such as Apple’s Itunes, Rogers argues that “DRM doesn’t add any value for the artist, label (who are selling DRM-free music every day - the Compact Disc), or consumer, the only people it adds value to are the technology companies who are interested in locking consumers to a particular technology platform.”

“Un-DRM’d content is implicitly more valuable to a consumer,” Rogers said.