Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Pepsi To Give Away 1B Songs; Sony to Drop DRM?

Amazon and Pepsi are gearing up to give away 1 billion digital songs in a year-long "bottle-cap" promotion starting next February, Billboard's Ed Christman reports. (That's a lot of songs: For context, Apple has only sold 3 billion songs since 2003, and 1 billion in the first six months of this year). More interesting is Ed's assertion that the giveaway, coupled with Wal-Mart online's insistence that record labels only provide it with music in MP3 format, has Sony-BMG (SNE) thinking about ditching DRM/copy protection for its downloads.Sony has been the most dogmatic in its public proclamations about hanging on to DRM and copy protection, so it'd be a real surprise to see them drop DRM altogether. Ed says the label "is now considering an MP3 test," but doesn't provide much more detail...
He does offer a lot of details about the billion-song promotion though: It's supposed to kick off during the Super Bowl, and is a repeat of a 2004 stunt where Pepsi (PEP) offered to give away up to 100 million tracks. The big difference: The first promotion used Apple's (AAPL) iTunes store as the retail outlet, and this time it's going through Amazon (AMZN), which sells DRM-free tracks that can be used on any software or player.

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