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April 4, 2007

Zune to go DRM-free with EMI sometime

Posted by David Hunter at 10:26 PM ET.

Ina Fried at CNET has the word from Microsoft after the Apple/EMI announcement earlier this week:

Microsoft plans to follow Apple in selling unprotected songs from EMI, though the company won’t say just when such tracks will appear on the Zune Marketplace store.

When CEO Steve Jobs issued his open letter calling for an end to DRM, Microsoft said the total abolition of such protections would be irresponsible, since they are needed for subscription music and other new business models. However, the software maker said Wednesday that it does plan to offer DRM-free music from EMI and others.

“We’ve been saying for a while that we are aware that consumers want to have unprotected content,” said Zune marketing director Jason Reindorp. Reindorp said he did not have a time frame for when unprotected songs will be added to the store.

Since unlike Apple’s iTunes, Microsoft sells subscriptions to the Zune Marketplace where the music plays as long as you keep up the subscription, removing DRM rather puts a crimp in that business.

In other Zune news, Reindorp says Microsoft is planning new colors of “baby pink” and “watermelon red” plus a new ad blitz:

Reindorp said that the first ads were mostly about establishing the brand, while the new advertising, which includes a TV spot, focuses on features that make the Zune stand out from the iPod, such as its support for subscription music, larger screen and built-in FM tuner.

What, no social? And there’s that pesky subscription model again. Still, as we’ve observed before, just about any ads would be better than the Zune first wave.

Filed under Apple, Argo, Coopetition, DRM, General Business, Marketing, Microsoft, Technologies, Zune

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