It’s over. Restrictions on copying digital music are going to be history — and all hell could break loose in the music retail business.
Amazon.com’s move to sell more than 2 million songs free of digital rights management software, or DRM , could well be seen several years from now as the point of no return for this controversial technology. The days of music companies telling consumers when and how they can listen to their songs are numbered.
It won’t happen overnight. Amazon’s move is — to lean on that useful but overused buzz phrase — a tipping point. DRM is a well-intentioned idea that served to drive many music consumers away.
One of the biggest beneficiaries of DRM has been Apple . As Daniel Del’Re pointed out in his coverage of the Amazon announcement, when people buy songs on iTunes, “the only portable music device on which users can play back songs is the iPod .”