[qi:029] Universal Music Group is conducting an experiment where it will offer a large part of its catalog DRM free for six months, except that it won’t be available on the largest digital download store of them all – Apple’s iTunes. The most-backward looking music company in business is still calling their decision “a test” and the fact that they are willing to forego sales from iTunes, tells us they are not exactly serious about offering DRM-free music. UMG recently made a decision not to sign a long term deal with Apple (AAPL).
Nevertheless, the cat fight between UMG and Apple is likely to give rivals such as Real (RNWK), WalMart and Amazon (AMZN) a boost. Real’s Rhapsody digital music service will soon start selling DRM-free albums and tracks as part of a six-month test with UMG, the world’s leading music company. Real plans to charge 89 cents per track for Rhapsody subscribers and 99 cents for non-subscribers.