Sony Is Stupid, but Also Predictable and Still Shining Bright.


What a busy week for Sony!

First, I assumed that they were going to offer their wares DRM-free from Amazon but not iTunes, and I speculated on what the labels were up to.

Then, they threw me a curve by being incredibly stupid, which diverted my attention briefly.

Finally, today they’ve fallen right in line with my original prediction, and are offering their tunes on Amazon, but not iTunes. The article does not specify if Sony’s whole catalog is available or just a part of it.

Anyway, leave it to Sony to take time out from possibly colluding with three of the other big labels against iTunes to be really stupid for a couple of days.

10 thoughts on “Sony Is Stupid, but Also Predictable and Still Shining Bright.

  1. The thing about fairplay is that it’s not a very restrictive DRM at all. Compare it to the nasty playsforsure and other DRM schemes, and it’s almost like not having DRM at all. That’s why most people don’t mind it. It’s pretty much transparent, and Apple does all they can to make sure you can use your tunes as you desire.

  2. James,

    Since FairPlay has not proved to be too obstructive to a lot of people, I don’t see Apple drawing a DRM line in the sand and refusing to sell anything else.

    I didn’t mean to imply that Apple selling DRM-free music from Sony, etc. wouldn’t be a big deal. In fact, I agree with you that it would be a big deal. However, that’s not the same as saying it’s newsworthy enough to take time from Jobs’ limited keynote time at Macworld for it. If they were the first to do so, maybe, but not at #2.

    Further, while I suppose it’s possible Apple may have deals with Warner and Sony and sat on them for just a few weeks (they’ve both only begun to sell DRM-free music), what about Universal? They’ve been doling out DRM-free to Wal-Mart and Amazon for months. Personally, I think Warner and Sony have fallen in line with Universal and are avoiding iTunes for now.

    Agree with you about Doctorow, but it may be that Sony threw him off (like it did many people) by announcing their stupid buy-a-card-and-then-download albums sales at $12.99.

    In any case, we’ll know in just a few more days. Personally, I hope you’re right.

  3. I can think of something that would make a splash even though they are second. Announce that all music on the iTunes store is now DRM free and any label who isn’t willing to go DRM free can sell their music elsewhere. I think that would be worth waiting for Macworld to make the announcement.

    I disagree that just because Amazon already is doing DRM free that an Apple announcement wouldn’t be a big deal. Apple has sold 3+ billion tracks–they are the 800 pound gorilla in online music sales and such an announcement would really mean the end of DRM encumbered tracks.

    It may be so important that even Cory Doctorow notices and puts up a post on Boing Boing. (I find it highly amusing that Boing Boing had nothing about Sony releasing DRM free MP3s. You would think the most vocal anti-DRM blog would be happy to talk about it but I guess it was never about users freedom after al.)

  4. James,

    I’m not forgetting it, and what you suggest has been mentioned before. But why would Apple sit on this announcement? It’s not like it’d be a big surprise or industry first. It’s already been done. Why waste time at your biggest and most anticipated event of the year to announce something Amazon’s already doing?

    If they were first to get the four major labels DRM-free it would be worth a big splash, but the fact is the best they can be is second. If they have the deals inked I see no reason to sit on the news. Still, I hope you’re right.

    I don’t know when the major labels’ current agreements wit iTunes is up, but I wonder if the labels are making Apple honor those before allowing a switch to DRM-free tunes.

  5. You seem to be forgetting a big Apple event coming up soon. If Apple has deals with some or all of the labels, they would announce it next week. I’m not saying that is what is going to happen but I think you might want to wait until next week before drawing conclusions.

  6. The fact that the music companies are giving other vendors, such as Amazon, DRM free music and not Apple’s iTunes, clearly shows collusion on their part to, and designed specifically to hurt iTunes.

    Since iTunes wouldn’t accommodate their demands to essentially allow the music companies to decide how to run iTunes, they, like spoiled little children, are trying to punish and break what they see as iTune’s control and rest it back into their money-grubbing hands.

    As a business practice this is not only childish, but utterly unlawful! If the don’t wise up, I hope Apple sues them for every penny they are worth.

  7. You know, it doesn’t matter one way or the other. I will still use iTunes. If I really need to get rid of the Fairplay DRM, I’ll just buy a CD-RW and burn songs onto it until infinity. It’s no big deal. In fact, by burning Fairplay music to CD, you have the option of importing it back to whatever format you prefer in iTunes.

    People usually leave that little nugget out of the discussion, but it’s more convenient for me to use iTunes, and this is assuming I need to get rid of the DRM in first place.

  8. Adam,

    “Actually it doesn’t matter where they want to sell their music as long as they can be played by the iPods”

    I’m not sure about that. What if I prefer iTunes to buy my music? Amazon is nice but iTunes is a better music shopping experience, in my opinion. In another analogy I made it would be like pulling their CDs from Wal-Mart. For those who prefer to shop there now they have to go to Target? Why?

    It’s not like the labels aren’t dealing with iTunes, they’re just treating Apple and its customers like dirt by offering an inferior product. To what purpose?

    The labels aren’t just screwing Apple, but every iTunes customer, and that’s millions of people. The fact is the labels don’t have to sue me to piss me off, they’ve done so by not supplying a product they’re obviously willing to offer, at a price currently being paid, to the most popular online store in the world. They should be called on this.

  9. Actually it doesn’t matter where they want to sell their music as long as they can be played by the iPods but if they use WMA then….

  10. Glad to see someone else rode this particular roller coaster.

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