Sony BMG is to release some of its digital catalogue without copyright restrictions, it has announced.

From January 15th consumers will be able to purchase music passes for 37 titles, allowing them to download the tracks on to all MP3 players - including iPods.

Sony is the last of the 'big four' music publishers to make the move, which some observers say represents a concession to the spread of peer-to-peer file-sharing on the internet.

As the Platinum Musicpass product does not feature digital rights management (DRM) restrictions consumers will be able to transfer their content on home music systems, mobile phones or digital music players.

Music publishers had previously sought to target piracy and protect their content through DRM restrictions but have now opted to reverse the imposition in a bid to boost falling record sales.

Thomas Hesse, president of Sony BMG's global digital business, said the move would create a "simple, easy-to-use solution that will appeal to fans who already access their music on the internet, as well as to consumers who are just getting into the digital realm".

It is hoped the purchasing of the musicpass, which will feature detailed artwork, will replace the perceived pleasure consumers enjoy when buying an album in the shops.

"These cards speak directly to that desire – they have great graphics and a quality look and feel that will make them highly collectible," Brooks Smith, president of participating firm InComm, said.

07/01/2008 17:50:57