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August 14th, 2008

The music industry's relationship with the internet can best be described as tumultuous. Although the internet has created new opportunities to market and distribute music, many industry insiders still view the internet as the music business's greatest foe. The advent of P2P file sharing applications undoubtedly contributed to dwindling music sales over the past decade. To compensate for its losses, the music industry responded with technology designed to restrict access to music to paying customers only. Digital rights management (DRM) is a term used to describe technologies designed to limit and control the use of intellectual property in digital formats. DRM is used most often in conjunction with music but it can also be applied to other forms of intellectual property such as movies and electronic books.

From the outset, the music industry's use of DRM has been surrounded by controversy. In 2002, Bertelsmann became the first music company to implement DRM technology on copies of physical CDs. Consumers became outraged because legitimately purchased CDs protected by DRM could not be played on some computers and caused others to crash. Sony encountered an even greater consumer backlash in 2005 when its DRM-protected CDs installed software on users' computers without their knowledge. The DRM software from Sony's CDs made users' computers vulnerable to hackers, creating huge security issues for the millions of consumers who purchased CDs from Sony. Suffering from the negative press surrounding DRM-protected CDs, the music industry slowly began removing the technology from physical copies of music in response to consumer demand for DRM-free music. In January 2007, EMI stopped manufacturing DRM-protected CDs, ending the industry's use of DRM technology to protect physical units.

Following the industry's lead on DRM-protected CDs, many online music retailers are now dropping DRM technology from digital downloads. At first glance, this may seem like a win for consumers who demand DRM-free music . However, the transition from DRM to DRM-free music can create even bigger problems for consumers. In August 2007, Sony shut down its online Sony Connect music store. Because the store used its own proprietary music format (ATRAC) designed to play on Sony devices only, the company's decision to close its DRM-protected music store left thousands of customers with legitimately purchased music that could not be played on any other player. In order to save their music, Sony customers had to burn and re-rip their music libraries. Similarly, just last month Yahoo announced that it would shut down its Yahoo! Music Unlimited store. Furthermore, the company stated that it would not provide license keys for purchased music, making it difficult for customers to transfer songs to other computers. Likewise, if a customer upgraded the operating system on the computer that stores music purchased from Yahoo! Music Unlimited, he or she would lose his or her music library as well. Like Sony, Yahoo has advised its customers to back their music up onto CDs in order to be able to play the music on other computers or with other operating systems. provides consumers with an alternative to backing up DRM-protected music onto CDs. With more than 10,000 tracks and 12,000 sound effects, our DRM-free music library gives you the flexibility to use music in ways that fit your lifestyle, business, and budget. DRM-free music from can be transferred to multiple computers and digital music players and used in a variety of projects, including television productions, films, presentations, and multimedia projects. When you purchase DRM-free music from, you'll never have to worry about licensing keys or restrictions with our lifetime music license . For the latest DRM-free music from, check out Acoustic Energy and Dramatic Comedy .

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