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SONY AND ALLIANCE TIE THEMSELVES TO ATRAC
"Secure" Downloads Available Via E-tailers; Consumers Urged To Show Restraint
No, not "8-track"—ATRAC.

Sony Music Entertainment and B2B e-tail specialists Alliance Entertainment have joined forces to sell digital downloads in Sony's proprietary ATRAC3 compression format via Alliance's e-tail partners.

Tracks from such acts as Destiny's Child, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, The Fugees and, of course, Color Me Badd, will be available for purchase from some 35 Net outlets, notably the Web sites of Penny Lane, Peaches Music and National Record Mart, with other vendors expected to sign on shortly.

The introductory price is $2.49, reduced from a standard retail price of $3.49.

The tracks will be equipped with Windows Media digital rights management (though other formats and DRM options are promised down the line)—with transaction and clearinghouse services from digital security firm Reciprocal—and will work with SDMI-compliant devices. You know, like the ones made by Sony.

Commented one Napster fan, "SDMI? Wasn't that, like, in World War I, or something?"

Added a daily Gnutella user, "So, I have to pay to pick a song from a list of tracks made available by one company, and I can't share it with my friends? Sign me up!"

Chimed in an iMesh regular, "$3.49? That's only 1/4 of the cost of the CDs I don't buy anymore. Neat."

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