Google, Universal Get In On DRM-Free Music

    August 14, 2007

Thanks to Universal Music Group and a new service called gBox, DRM-free music will become available through Google’s search engine.  Sounds interesting, right?  You should also know that these songs will be 30 cents cheaper than the ones sold by iTunes.

Unfortunately, this is all being referred to as a “test” – sales won’t commence until August 21st, and according to last100, they’ll end on January 31st.  Also, I can’t help but view Google with a bit of suspicion following its video-related DRM debacle.  But if you can get past those two issues – and the fact that the gBox site doesn’t currently work with Firefox – the idea is pretty appealing.

A press release explains, “Universal will . . . be driving traffic to DRM-free downloads using Google’s AdWords advertising program.  Google ads will connect consumers directly to digital retailer gBox, Inc. download store making the search and buying process as simple as possible.”  And that’s that.

Just to be clear, though, I’ll point out that gBox is not related to Google, and that could be a drawback, in terms of resources and financing.  But as Daniel Langendorf states, “If gBox is successful, and in doing so chips away at the dominance of the ITMS, it will be due more to the allure of DRM-free music and the record industry’s battle against Jobs and Apple than it will be because of Google’s involvement.”

Or Universal’s, for that matter.  It’s hard to criticize the corporation’s latest move, but Universal hasn’t earned a reputation for being friendly.