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Wednesday, January 9 12:00 AM ET

Sony Outlines Process for Getting DRM-Free Music

By Brian Briggs

New York, NY – Confusion has surrounded Sony's announcement that the company would soon be offering DRM-free music. Instead of the simple process of purchasing the music online from retailers like Amazon, Apple's iTunes Music Store or Emusic, Sony has taken a different path.

Thomas Hesse, President of Sony BMG Music Entertainment's Global Digital Business and US Sales, outlined the seven-step process consumers must go through to receive DRM-Free music during his thrilling Powerpoint presentation:

  • The consumer must visit an outlet like Best Buy or Circuit City and buy a card which has an encrypted code on the back.
  • The consumer must then decode an encrypted message on the back of the card which contains latitude and longitude coordinates.
  • At those coordinates a small key has been buried in the ground. That key will have a Web site imprinted on it.
  • The consumer must then visit that web site where they are given the location of a locker in a bus or train station where they can use the key to open to get a slip of paper.
  • The slip of paper can be traded for a Golden Ticket at McDonald's.
  • The Golden Ticket can be insert at special kiosks located at Pump-N-Pay and Fill-N-Flush gas stations that allows the consumer to download the DRM-Free songs in .sny format onto a special MemoryStick available for purchase at the locations.

Hesse said, “The new process gives consumers access to DRM-Free music, while also ensuring music retailers still play a part in the process. I think it's a fair compromise that should satisfy everyone.”

Many asked if the process was a bit excessive just to get a song. “We have to make sure that DRM-Free music doesn't get into the wrong hands. With this process we can be sure that terrorists won't get their hands on the new Celine Dion record and use it in some sort of attack,” Hesse answered.

Puzzled journalists nodded in agreement at the statement.

Hesse also noted that royalties to musicians would have to be reduced to pay for the added infrastructure needed for DRM-Free music. “Somebody has to bury all those keys,” he said.

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Many pundits argue that Sony is using the complicated process to discourage purchases of DRM-Free music, so they can declare it a failure. “This is standard operating procedure for Sony,” said Rory Nursepaddle of drmfreenation.com. “Just like they did with the PS3, they announce a product that's doomed to fail then go back to their old ways.”

No consumers were excited by the news.

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