September 19, 2006
Two months ago, Sony released the new Jessica Simpson single in MP3 through Yahoo! Music. This week, Variety (via PaidContent) reports that Disney-owned Hollywood Records will release Jesse McCartney’s full album in MP3. It seems that some major record label execs may finally be coming to their senses:
“We’re trying to be realistic,” said Ken Bunt, senior VP of marketing at Hollywood Records. “Jesse’s single is already online and we haven’t put it out. Piracy happens regardless of what we do. So we’re going to see how Jesse’s album goes (as an MP3) and then decide on others going forward.”
Kudos to Yahoo! for making progress on this front, even if this is just a baby step in the right direction by the major record labels. DRM won’t stop or even meaningfully slow “Internet piracy.” And after years of pushing for improved compatibility with DRM formats, the record labels have witnessed more, not less, balkanization of music services and devices. If the record labels really care about making sure their customers can play music on the devices of their choice, the only solution that plays-for-sure is an open, unencrypted format like MP3.