7digital: All Major Labels, DRM-Free

When Apple made a deal with record label EMI to offer the label’s catalog on iTunes in DRM-free format a year and a half ago, it was heralded as a major shift for the music industry. Consumers were fed up with the hassles of DRM schemes, there was no evidence they hindered piracy in the slightest, and predictions abounded that all online music would be soon offered in DRM-free format.

Although some of the DRM-free optimism has proved to be misplaced, here have been some major shifts: other major record labels watched EMI’s experiment and eventually jumped on board, with Universal perhaps embracing the DRM-free idea most aggressively. And so far, none of the labels have backtracked on their DRM-free stances, although no doubt if some magical technology came along that enabled them to sell music that worked seamlessly for consumers but couldn’t be pirated…they’d be on it in a heartbeat.

So, in the spirit of “landmark moments in DRM-free music,” it’s worth noting that there is now one service offering high-quality, DRM-free MP3 tracks from all four major record labels—EMI, Warner Music, Universal Music, and now Sony BMG. And it’s not iTunes. Or Amazon. Or eMusic, Napster (um, Best Buy), Rhapsody, Yahoo Music, or the Zune Marketplace. It’s the UK’s 7digital, which is now offering more than 4 million tracks in 320 kbps, DRM-free MP3 format.

“We are extremely happy to be the first and only digital media company providing a full catalog of MP3 music for the increasing number of people who are using the Internet to download music onto different devices,” said 7digital CEo Ben Drury, in a statement. “Consumers see DRM as somewhat of a hindrance when purchasing legal digital music. The availability of all of the big four music labels in high-quality MP3 is fantastic news for the UK music fan—everything they now buy from us they can be sure will work on all their devices.”

Unlike DRM-protected music—whether using Apple’s FairPlay technology or Windows DRM—MP3 playback is supported on virtually any computer, music-capable phone, or digital media device.

Want to get in on some of 7digital’s MP3 goodness? The service has announced plans to expand into the U.S. and Canadian markets in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Emerging Tech

Cheese tastes different when it listens to Led Zeppelin, Swiss study finds

A funky new study says that exposing cheese to music changes its aroma and flavor. What’s more, the genre of music matters. Researchers from the Bern University of Arts played music to nine, 22-pound wheels of Emmental cheese.
Home Theater

Pandora now lets you mess with the secret sauce for its music playlists

Pandora introduced a new feature called Modes, allowing subscribers to pick between six different algorithms that determine what the popular music streaming service will decide to play.
Computing

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.
Music

The best new music this week: Karen O with Danger Mouse, and more

Looking for the best new music? Each week, we find the most compelling new releases just for you. This week, we have new music from Karen O with Danger Mouse, Snarky Puppy, Stephen Malkmus, and Zacari.
Social Media

Facebook Messenger adds quoted replies to better organize group chats

Facebook is rolling out a feature that should help make group chats a whole lot more organized. The feature allows you to reply to specific messages within a group chat, so others will be able to tell what you're replying to.
Mobile

The 2018 iPad is often the best iPad for most people — and now it’s only $250

Apple may have recently taken the wraps off of a new iPad Air and iPad Mini, but it's still the standard iPad that is best for most people. Now, the standard iPad has gotten a pretty significant discount -- it's down from $330 to $250.
Product Review

The new iPad Mini certainly isn’t a beauty, but it performs like a beast

Apple’s new iPad Mini has beastly performance, fluid iOS 12 software, and good battery life. It also looks like it came straight out of 2015, because the design hasn’t been changed. Here are our impressions of Apple’s new 7.9-inch…
Photography

Looking to keep prying eyes at bay? Here's how to hide photos on your iPhone

People take tons of photos using their smartphones, but not all are meant to be shared or seen. Luckily, hiding photos on your iOS device is easy, whether you want to use built-in utilities or apps with added security.
Computing

Give your MacBook Air some added style with one of these great cases or sleeves

Whether you’re looking for added protection or a stylish flourish, you’re in the right place for the best MacBook Air cases. We have form-hugging cases, luxurious covers, and padded sleeves priced from $10 to $130. Happy shopping!
Deals

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for March 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for March 2019.
Home Theater

There isn’t a single good reason to buy Apple’s new AirPods

After nearly a three-year wait, Apple has finally announced a new version of its popular true wireless headphones, the AirPods. We had high hopes for vast improvements, but that's not what we got.
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks for the best portable chargers.
Mobile

Type away on the best iPad keyboard cases, from the Mini to the Pro

Whether you're looking to replace your laptop with a tablet or merely want to increase your typing speed, a physical iPad keyboard is the perfect companion to the iPad. Check out our top picks for every available iPad model.
Mobile

Apple patent suggests Apple Watch bands could have built-in fitness indicators

Apple may be exploring ways to make Apple Watch bands a little more useful. A new patent has been filed by Apple that suggests Apple Watch bands could eventually have indicators for things like fitness goals.