Michael Robertson launches new DRM-free music service

Entrepreneur Michael Robertson is yet again launching a new online music service--one that offers digital albums stripped of security software that can be played on any music device, including iPods.

Robertson, the founder of MP3.com and MP3tunes.com, announced the launch Thursday of Anywherecd.com.

Unfortunately, his customers are required to buy complete albums without the option of buying individual songs, have such a tiny music library to choose from, and must often pay more for an album than they do at the top online music stores.

Sagging music sales have forced record labels to effectively enter into negotiations with consumers. Executives are trying to figure out what how much more they have to offer before music fans once again pay for music.

"Last year, I decided it was time to revisit selling music in the MP3 format," Robertson said in a statement. "I reached out to many labels and all were polite...My message was to use the MP3 format to boost sales by offering a new buying option for online music fans. If they purchase an album, they immediately get high quality MP3 files which they can own forever with the confidence that they'll work on any music device available."

It's trendy right now to attempt to offer music unrestricted by Digital Rights Management software. Two weeks ago, EMI and Apple announced that the music label would offer DRM-free songs on iTunes offer starting in May.

Soon after, Microsoft announced that it too planned to sell unsecured songs from EMI but has yet to say when.

Unprotected MP3 files will cost more. For example, "Elephant" by the band The White Stripes sells for $11.95 on Robertson's new site, but costs only $9.99 on iTunes. A customer on Anywherecd.com can also choose to buy a digital album as well as a CD version for $14.95.

As for the small music library, Robertson said in the statement that "AnywhereCD will continue to grow and new content will be added in the near future."

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