In a ridiculously customer-phobic move typical of the company, Sony BMG has announced they’ll start selling DRM-free MP3s of their artists’ music—but only if you go to a retail store and buy a special gift card.
Sony BMG, home to artists including Beyonce, Britney Spears and Celine Dion, said on Monday it will launch a gift card service on January 15 called Platinum MusicPass that will feature digital albums from its artists in the MP3 format. The format does not use DRM protection.
Fans will be able to buy the digital album cards in stores and download full-length albums from a MusicPass Web site after they type in an identifying number. The cards will be available at U.S. retail outlets such as Best Buy and Target.
I’m not all that upset about it. Sony will certainly come around when they realize how infantile they are being and I doubt they’ll try to pull the “Look at the poor sales! Our customers didn’t want DRM-free music!” trick, not with all the other labels selling their MP3s on digital download services. It’s just hilarious to watch Sony flub moves like this, so close to getting it but too proud to do the right thing. They’re the Norma Desmond of the consumer electronics industry.