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Warner Music gives UK's 7digital entire catalogue, DRM-free

In another spasm in the slow death of DRM, 7digital.com has announced it will start selling Warner Music's entire catalogue, DRM-free, from today

The major worldwide record label Warner Music has agreed to sell its entire catalogue on 7digital.com, in DRM-free MP3 format, in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain and France, available from today.

Prices for the Warner tracks will sell for the same price as existing DRM-free tracks offered on 7digital from EMI and a large number of independent labels: 79p for individual tracks, £7.99 for most albums.

To promote the new deal, 7digital will offer many of Warner's titles for £5, from the likes of Madonna, Green Day, Puff Daddy and Eric Clapton, along with titles from around 100 other major artists.

Additionally, much of the Warner catalogue will include music videos, exclusive artwork and other promotional material as part of 'value-added bundles', aimed at easing people away from physical discs.

Warner Music Europe's president John Reid said, "We believe that providing consumers with this assurance of interoperability will encourage sales of music downloads and ultimately help the development of new digital music experiences."

Er... yeah. We've been saying that for years, as has the rest of the industry and the world's music-loving population.

Still, the move is not entirely unexpected; Warner signed on with Amazon.com to offer DRM-free downloads not long ago. The move is also going to be very bad news for Apple's iTunes Store, which currently only has EMI as a major label that supplies it with DRM-free music.

Buying music free of digital rights management online is the Holy Grail for music shoppers, and today's news is going to be a very big deal indeed. Play.com recently unveiled its DRM-free MP3 download store, and Amazon has announced it will bring its DRM-free service -- which comprises all four major record labels -- to Europe later this year, though neither have announced similar deals with Warner Music to sell its catalogue without copy protection.

This only further fuels our belief that 2008 will be the year of the DRM-free digital download. -Nate Lanxon