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Best Buy Digital Music Store To Offer DRM-Free Music

Minneapolis — Best Buy said its Best Buy Digital Music Store will participate in a test by Universal Music Group that will give customers the chance to purchase music unprotected by Digital Rights Management (DRM) software for the same price they would pay for protected music.

“Our customers have shared their frustration around DRM protection and we have listened,” said Jennifer Schaidler, music VP for Best Buy. “One of the most appealing aspects of digital music is the freedom it can provide to enjoy music wherever and whenever you want. Taking away DRM protection will help digital music live up to this promise.

“Based on what we hear form consumers and our own research, we firmly believe DRM-free music is what the consumer wants,” Schaidler added. “We’re happy to be part of Universal’s test. We believe customers will respond positively to the idea of getting unprotected music without having to pay more for that freedom.”

The Best Buy Digital Music Store launched in October 2006. It is powered by the RealNetworks Rhapsody 4.0 music platform and allows customers to purchase individual songs for $0.99 each or to subscribe to the service for $14.99 per month for unlimited music listening. Subscribers can play the music on a computer or on any compatible MP3 player, and the music can be listened to as long as the subscription is active. According to Best Buy, subscribers also have the option to purchase songs at a discounted rate of $0.89 per track.