drmfree.pngAmazon’s DRM-free music service is really appealing these days. When it launched last September it got rave reviews because of the ease of use and the attractive prices, not to mention that whole DRM-free aspect. It was appealing when it launched and it’s getting even more appealing these days because of the situation we’re seeing with Yahoo right now.

Some of you have probably heard about what’s going on over at Yahoo right now – they have decided to stop issuing DRM authorization keys which essentially makes songs that people purchased and downloaded from the company worthless. Come September 30th, music owners will not be able to put the songs they purchased on multiple devices, or burn them to CD. Sound familiar? If it does, it’s because MSN’s music service did the same thing about a year ago.

This is turning into a real problem now that two major companies, both Microsoft and Yahoo, have decided to take down their servers that manage DRM and abandon their music services. Yahoo is hoping to keep customers who bought music happy by offering to compensate them for whatever they paid for their music. According to their FAQ, they are encouraging those who purchased music from the Yahoo! Music Unlimited Store to burn all of their music to CDs because those files can be copied back to a computer without problem. For those who have problems, they say:

For any consumers that have problems with their DRM licenses after the store closes, our customer care group will provide coupons to the Rhapsody MP3 store so they can purchase an equivalent collection of MP3s. If any users have serious problems with this arrangement, we will provide refunds to them through our customer care service. This offer will remain open until December 31st, 2008.

We believe this plan will provide a fair deal to consumers who have purchased songs through the Yahoo! Music Unlimited service, and will assist users in making the transition beyond DRM to more flexible, reliable and consumer-friendly digital media.

News.com recently proposed an interesting question – what if Apple stopped issuing DRM keys like MSN and Yahoo? At this point Apple is king of the digital media market so it’s not like it would happen anytime soon, but what if at some point it happened?

One thing we know of for sure right now is that DRM-free is the way to go these days because you just never know…