The Null Device

Vivendi Universal experiment with MP3 downloads

Maybe Vivendi Universal aren't entirely evil. They're now offering a song for sale in unprotected MP3 format. No proprietary DRM schemes, spyware-enhanced ad-showing players or Microsoft dependencies. (Sort of like what atomicpop.com did with the 4AD back-catalogue some years ago.)

I suspect this may be part of a power struggle within Vivendi, between the copyright hardliners (i.e., Bronfman's Universal Music Group, who have been pushing copy-restricted pseudo-CDs) and moderates in the new media division (i.e., mp3.com, emusic.com). If this succeeds, the absolutists' position may be weakened, and we may see copy-restricted CDs shelved or even unencumbered MP3 downloads become a regular feature. Whereas if this fails, the hardliners will just say "I told you so", and redouble their zeal.

I don't know much about Meshell N'degeocello (though with EBTG's Ben Watt doing the remix, it could be good), but I'm tempted to buy the MP3 anyway. Though it happens to be for US residents only at the moment. (via Slashdot)

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