Orange music store goes DRM-free

Mobile network operator and ISP Orange UK announced that it has begun to offer DRM-free downloads in the Orange Music Store. Content is available from major labels Universal Music and EMI initially, as well as "a number of independent labels," filling out the catalog with more than 700,000 tracks.

Like Verizon's V Cast with Rhapsody in the United States, Orange Music Store downloads are delivered simultaneously to the mobile handset and PC, and can be transferred and burned at will. Verizon's parent company Vodafone went from protected WMA to unprotected MP3, last March.

Though "DRM-free" is getting a bit long in the tooth as a notable feature in downloadable music stores, Orange Music has also employed the variable pricing model, which only took hold in the music selling business about three months ago. Apple's iTunes began to offer tracks for prices other than 99¢ per song, and within days all of iTunes' major competitors had done the same. Orange's DRM-free tracks start at 79p.

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