Yahoo music head Dave Goldberg has, in the past, expressed he’s a fan of unrestricted MP3 format (meaning no DRM and hence portable to any device, including iPods), pointing to eMusic, which does that (others like MP3tunes.com and smaller sites also do that, with non-mainstream music). Now Yahoo is doing a trial with one big artist, and surveying its Yahoo Music users on whether it should offer more of these MP3 downloads.
On the trial, it is offering the new Jessica Simpson song “A Public Affair” as an MP3 file for $1.99. Which is a high price from the 99 cents for usual downloads people are used to…but I bet it will come down in the next few months. The blog post from Yahoo Music’s official blog says that the premium is for a personalized “name version” of the song, not because it doesn’t have DRM. Also, Ian says on the blog: “The right price for MP3s is somewhere between $0.99 and there, IMHO”, though not sure labels are comfortable doing that yet.
On the survey Yahoo Music is doing, one of the questions in the survey: “Would you consider paying $1.09 for a single, unrestricted MP3 download that would have absolutely no limitations on its use and could be transferred to any portable audio player or computer?” That might be a decent price for initial period.
Also, this is one way labels can subvert the power Apple holds over the digital music market, and I’m sure some of this is playing out behind the scenes with this move.