updated 01:30 pm EDT, Wed March 11, 2009
Vodafone drops MP3 DRM
Vodafone has announced plans to switch the majority of its music catalog to a DRM-free MP3 format. The phone carrier says it has signed deals with Sony, EMI and Universal, which will allow tracks bought from the record labels to be copied freely between phones, computers and dedicated media players. Vodafone claims that it will also be the first provider in the world to do dual delivery, by which a track can be downloaded to both a phone and a computer at no extra charge, and with no device sync.
Charges are likewise being withheld from upgrades, which will be available to those who bought DRM-restricted WMA files from the labels. The switch to MP3 is scheduled to begin in the summer, rooted in Spain, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and the UK. Countries such as Australia, Greece, Ireland, India, Turkey and South Africa will follow sometime thereafter. The move may be intended to provide competition against Apple's iTunes Store, which sells DRM-free music from all four majors (including Warner) for the iPhone.