Music site 7digital, which is the biggest music site based in the UK, today became the first digital download firm to offer 100pc DRM (digital rights management)-free MP3’s from the four major music labels Universal, Sony BMG, Warner and EMI – for download to all MP3 devices.
With a back catalogue of over four million songs, the online music store is selling a selection that, while not exactly comparable with Apple’s 8.5 million arsenal, is all DRM-free, meaning it can be shared among as many devices as the user wants without being locked down to a specific number of hard drives.
Also, 7digital’s music is compatible with the Apple iPod, as well as all other MPS players, mobile phones and BlackBerry devices.
Because the entire catalogue will be high quality 320kbps MP3s, Sony BMG’s catalogue will also be automatically upgraded for free, so those who have previously bought any music from this label on 7digital will get a free upgrade.
Another reason for music fans to celebrate today’s announcement is the two free compilation albums available for customers featuring the Magic Numbers and Saint Etienne among others, as well as offers on MP3 albums from EMI artists including Queen, Sigur Ros and We Are Scientists.
“The high-quality DRM-free MP3 format is what digital music consumers have been waiting for. It is a universal download format that can be copied and played on multiple devices including iPods, iPhones, BlackBerrys and other devices,” said Ben Drury, CEO of 7digital.com.
“Consumers see DRM as somewhat of a hindrance when purchasing legal digital music. The availability of all of the big four music labels in high-quality MP3 is fantastic news for the UK music fan – everything they now buy from us they can be sure will work on all their devices. We’ve seen a huge increase in sales since making MP3 downloads available on 7digital.com.”
While 7digital is now available in Ireland, the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Austria and Portugal, it has plans to extend its digital download service to the US and Canada later this year.
Currently 7digital can be accessed through social networking site Bebo and also allows unsigned bands and artists to upload and sell their music through its indiestore platform.
By Marie Boran
Pictured: the 7digital Irish online music store, offering DRM-free MP3 from the big four labels, is now open for business