Allofmp3 Experiments With Free Content… But Wraps It In DRM

from the sorta,-but-not-quite dept

Yesterday, Allofmp3 got a ton of press for holding a press conference defending its legality and business model. So why is it changing all of that? That’s not entirely clear. A few people have submitted a NY Times piece that highlights Allofmp3’s plans to “give away” lots of music supported by ads. Plenty of people are picking up on this story, while focusing in on the part of the article that claims Visa has yanked its support of the site as the reason why Allofmp3 is suddenly shifted to a free, ad-supported model. However, that’s not at all clear from the article. The NY Times article is pretty poorly written. It mentions the Visa thing, but keeps it entirely separate from the free music section — suggesting that these may actually be unrelated events (in fact, it almost sounds like Visa decided to pull its service to the site after the announcement of the free music). Secondly, the ad supported offering doesn’t really sound all that impressive. Part of the reason people like Allofmp3 is because it gives them totally unencumbered files in whatever format works best for the buyer. That is, they can do whatever they want with those files, from playing them on iPods to making copies of them for multiple computers or whatever. However, the new offering, not unlike some of the plans the record labels are supporting, requires people to listen to music in specific players where the ads will be shown, and won’t let you copy the files to more than one computer. Obviously, that’s about the only way to get the advertising to work, but it also decreases the value of the music since people can’t do much with it. So, it may be free, but it brings back the DRM and the limitations. There are plenty of us who would prefer to pay for unencumbered music, than to get copy protected music for free.

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Comments on “Allofmp3 Experiments With Free Content… But Wraps It In DRM”

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TriZz says:

I don’t use – but what does it matter if you can’t transfer it to another computer? It’s free! Just download the DRMd stuff to the other computer!

…as for an iPod/any mp3 player, what do you expect for (legally) free?

Can you burn the free music to a CD? If you can, then you can just re-rip it onto your computer DRM free (not using iTunes). That’s what I do with iTunes stuff.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think the bigger news is the trend for credit card companies to refuse to allow purchasers to use the credit card with certain merchants.

Some of this is the result of legislation (online gambling). To the extent Visa or any other credit card company starts limiting where it’s customers may use it they are making *their* product less valuable.

Visa shouldn’t be in the censorship business, it isn’t good for their business.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“I think the bigger news is the trend for credit card companies to refuse to allow purchasers to use the credit card with certain merchants.”

This isn’t really a big deal at all. While you may not be able to pay directly with your Visa you will just go to another site not directly affiliated with where you will buy “points” that can be spent at sites such as

And BTW, best quote of the article.

“So, it may be free, but it brings back the DRM and the limitations. There are plenty of us who would prefer to pay for unencumbered music, than to get copy protected music for free.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Visa,MC and Amex have always been in the business of helping themselves. If they feel a potential liability from doing business with any company where the chargeback / id theft rate is through the roof, its not good for their business (if you get a refund, they dont get interest – sure they get the discount rate, but its nowhere near what joe consumer pays).

That said because of the arcane credit laws (thank you, south dakota) Visa, Mc, Amex, Novus etc will never ever face any liability for their complete inaction in protecting consumers from id theft.

Cleverboy (user link) says:

Re: Re:

“you think the music industry might get a clue that our dislike of DRM is not just about getting stuff for free? Somehow I doubt it..”

Can’t beat “almost free” and “dirt cheap” no matter if you have DRM or not. “Encumbered by DRM” is probably the most goofiest excuse people use these days for complaining and pirating music (and in some cases, paying to pirate music). Back in the day, people didn’t call “radio” DRM… they just got off their fat asses and hit the “record” button on their cassette tapes. These days, the record button is in Audacity (or any number of other one-press wave recording programs). –Making that personal recording is fair use. Paying someone else to do it, like AllofMp3, is piracy. Sounds real simple until you begin the delicate rationalization process that makes capitalism and the free market out to be the scourge of the universe.

All you zombies out there… say it to yourself… just because piracy is a “competitive force” to adjust for, doesn’t mean that the publisher can afford to attempt to “out price” a pirate. They can only attempt a collection of disincentives and apply triage. At the end of the day, those same customers Best Buy has begun calling a “lost cause”, are the same ones publishers have to “write off” as “will never buy from me for any price or condition”. It’s human nature to try to screw people out of their due and get a deal. Why people dress this up, as concerns music (stories: musicians don’t need the money or get much anyway, the industry is evil and always will be, i’m sending a message), I’ll never know.

GeeBee says:

Yeah, I noticed...

I’m an avid user of AllofMp3. No spyware… just great service, great music and great business model. I understand the question of legality etc… but that’s for Russia and lawmakers to figure out, not me. I noticed the other day that they only accept some strange credit types and switched to mastercard. Luckily I have bof visa and mc. I have an iPod, but don’t use iTunes because of DRM. I have no problem paying for something if I can use it… and I couldn’t do the following with iTunes music.. The music comes from allofmp3 in various formats and goes on my home media server, services my ipod and my laptop and removable hd for work and travel. It’s great… same as if I had ripped the CD myself.

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