Apparently, this year's MIDEM conference, the music industry's international trade show, took place in a parallel universe where the major record labels may be willing to ditch music download DRM. And this parallel universe may be coming to an online store near you in 2007.
According to the International Herald Tribune, "Executives of several technology companies ... said ... that a move toward the sale of unrestricted digital files in the MP3 format from at least one of the four major record companies could come within months." That's not all -- while the RIAA's Mitch Bainwol pretended that fully interoperable DRM could exist, the article recounts many examples that demonstrate "a new appreciation in the [music] industry for unrestricted copies, which could be sold as singles or through subscription services or made freely available on advertising-supporting Internet sites."
Nevertheless, it unfortunately remains clear that the record labels aren't ready to ditch DRM entirely. After all, they're once again in Congress pushing for a backdoor DRM mandate for satellite and digital radio as well as webcasting. The labels may finally be hearing your disdain for DRM at online music stores -- make your voice heard in Congress by opposing mandatory radio DRM now.