No DRM for Puretracks


TORONTO – Canadian-based online music store Puretracks Inc. on Wednesday said it has begun selling selected music tracks in the MP3 file format with no digital rights management (DRM) restrictions.

Toronto-based Puretracks said songs by Canadian artists, including The Barenaked Ladies, Broken Social Scene and Sarah McLachlan, would be sold as unrestricted MP3s, capable of being played on any device.

Stripping DRM from bought MP3s was done as part of a distribution deal with the artists' labels, including Vancouver-based Nettwerk Music Group, U.K.-based Beggars Banquet Records, and San Fransisco-based Independent Online Distribution Alliance.

"There is a time and place for DRM and there is also a time and place for selling music without it," said Puretracks president and CEO Alistair Mitchell.

"Together with the labels partnering on this undertaking, we're blazing a trail by giving our users choice and ultimate flexibility to enjoy their music any time, anywhere," he added.

Mitchell insisted the issue of "device interoperability" from online music outlets like Apple Inc.'s iTunes Store restricting its MP3s to certain devices and platforms needs addressing.

The use by music copyright owners of DRM technology to restrict how the product is copied or transferred has drawn criticism from consumer advocates.

The Puretracks MP3 catalogue will initially hold 50,000 titles, priced from CAN$0.79 cents ($0.68) per song, with additional music to be added.