For some reason folks are acting all shocked that sales of digital music seem to go up when you dont cripple it with DRM. In a piece thats all over the net right now (here, here, here and here) Bloomberg (the news service not the recently independent, non-presidential candidate) is reporting that sales of DRM-free tracks released by EMI are showing significant increases. Again not sure why this would surprise anyone not paid directly by the DRM developers or the RIAA. Its an interesting story that is only going to get bigger as folks like Apple and Amazon push for less restricted music. Of course the P2P side will still dwarf them all but that is a debate for another time.
After Steve Jobs dropped his anti-DRM bomb on the labels people immediately started talking about which label would be the first to wake up to MP3. Early money was on EMI being the first to buckle, largely because they are in the toughest financial position and Ted Cohen used to run the show. We’ll looks like the early money was wrong as EMI signs a streaming deal with Last.fm.
Today EMI announced a deal with Last.fm, giving Last.fm users the ability to stream music from EMI artists including: Corinne Bailey Rae (a damned good album), Norah Jones (a great album), KT Tunstall (damned good for a long drive), Keith Urban (kill yourself) and Robbie Williams (who?). Paid content has a good blurb on this and you can check out the original release here. Rumors are also swirling that Last.fm may fall to Viacom in the coming weeks.
As a Pandora user myself I dont really get the appeal of Last.fm, which seems far more cluttered and confusing then the elegant and simple Pandora. Maybe I dont have enough friends, if your on Last.fm add me as a friend up (in fact I’m friendless on Orkut too…).