Yahoo is next to consider a DRM-free music store

Yahoo is reportedly in talks with major labels about a DRM-free music store. to offer them either for sale or for free in an ad-supported model.

Discussions are still preliminary, executives told the Associated Press under condition of anonymity. But now that the "big four" -- Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, EMI Group, and Warner Music Group -- have all begun the departure from digital rights management with their music tracks, and successes in the DRM-free retail sector in both Amazon's and iTunes' DRM-free stores have been seen, Yahoo looks to be in an excellent position to launch its own.

The search company already has free streaming audio and videos as well as Web radio, and it offers subscription-based downloads and a premium Internet radio service.

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Subscription sites like eMusic offer DRM-free downloads for as low as 27 cents, and many industry heads recently spoke favorably of that model. But Yahoo's management told the AP last fall it had actually begun to de-emphasize its own subscription service in favor of an ad-driven one.

While no plans have been disclosed yet, it could be speculated that Yahoo's music store, whether for pay or free with ads, will offer music files linking the content with contextual data. Yahoo already expanded its online music pages to include song lyrics, and Ian Rogers of Yahoo Music recently said, "There's currently no good way to connect downloads with their context...People are a conduit to this information."

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