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Orange UK drops DRM

Music wants to be free 79p

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Orange UK is jumping on the anti-DRM bandwagon as the centerpiece of a "major refresh" of its Music Portal's Orange Music Store.

The de-DRM-ing will begin with 700,000 tracks, and will be "enhanced in the coming months," according to a statement on the company's website.

The new pricing plan was secured through deals with Universal, EMI, and a group of indies, and will be "tiered" with prices starting at 79p ($1.28). As for prices of tunes on the other tiers, Orange isn't yet letting on.

In addition to freeing its catalog from digital-rights-management restrictions, Orange "will also be making a further refresh to the Music Portal to continue the enhancements to the user experience."

The statement quotes Orange's director of products, portals, and services, Paul Jevons, as saying: "Orange is committed to providing customers with the widest access to music tracks and content. Upgrading the Music Portal and introducing DRM-free music helps customers enjoy music how and when they want. We look forward to enhancing the DRM-free music catalogue over the coming months."

The move puts Orange on par with Vodafone, which ditched DRM in March, and Apple's iTunes Store, which announced its move away from copy-protected tuneage at January's Macworld Expo. ®

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