Universal Music Group will sell DRM-free music until January to test consumer demand for being able to do as we please with music that we legitimately purchase. The test tracks will be offered through many major music services with the notable exception of iTunes.
According to the New York Times,
“The effort is likely to be seen as part of the industry’s wider push to increase competition to iTunes and shift leverage away from Apple, which wields enormous influence over prices and other terms in digital music.”
EMI was the first label to offer DRM-free tracks and, even at $1.29 per song, it’s enjoying success. According to the suits at Universal, “at least some of [Universal's] new music will be sold in unprotected form for 99 cents…”
Universal is the largest music group of all the major labels so this could be a huge win for consumers if all goes well. The other labels would almost have to drop DRM to stay competitive.
Universal Music Will Sell Songs Without Copy Protection [New York Times]