Canadian download store Puretracks starts selling DRM-free music

“Canadian download store Puretracks is turning up the volume on the free-the-music movement by selling songs online without copy protection,” Peter Nowak reports for Financial Post.

Nowak reports, “Toronto-based Puretracks Inc. yesterday announced it was selling MP3 files from independent labels, including Nettwerk Music Group, Independent Online Distribution Alliance and England’s Beggar’s Banquet, without digital rights management (DRM), or the technology that restricts how a song can be copied and transferred.”

“The site’s unprotected catalog, which includes artists such as The Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan, will initially feature only 50,000 of its 1.3 million tracks, but will grow weekly, said Alistair Mitchell, president and chief executive. The songs will also be playable on devices they previously did not work on, such as Apple Inc.’s iPods, and the offering will grow to include tracks from major record labels,” Nowak reports.

Nowak reports, “Puretracks’ move comes on the heels of an open letter by Apple CEO Steve Jobs to major record labels two weeks ago in which he urged the dropping of DRM to fight piracy and spur sales of legal online music. Apple’s iTunes music store, which commands more than 90% of the legal market with more than two billion tracks sold in 2006, is facing slowing sales…”

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s iTunes Store is not facing slowing sales. Sales are actually surging. Stop quoting idiots like Rob Enderle (see full article if you think he deserves the hit) and start getting your facts straight, Mr. Nowak. Anyone else think it was Enderle who fed the poor sap the line about “iTunes’ slowing sales?” Related articles:
Apple’s iTunes Store passes two billion songs milestone; 50m TV shows & over 1.3m movies sold – January 09, 2007
comScore: Apple iTunes sales are surging; revenue grew 84% during first 3 quarters of 2006 – December 14, 2006
Forrester’s Bernoff: ‘iTunes sales are NOT plummeting! Press credibility, on the other hand…’ – December 13, 2006
Jim Cramer on Apple iTunes Store and ‘that stupid Forrester survey’ – December 13, 2006
Piper Jaffray: Apple iTunes Store sales show strong year-over-year growth – December 13, 2006
Apple on Forrester report: ‘the conclusion that iTunes sales are slowing is simply incorrect’ – December 12, 2006
Blackfriars’ does the math: Apple iTunes sales are not ‘collapsing’ – December 12, 2006
Digital downloads drive world music sales in first half of 2006 – October 13, 2006

Nowak continues, “Mr. Jobs’ letter prompted different reactions from the major labels, with Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman saying the argument for removing DRM was “completely without logic or merit.” London-based EMI Group, however, is reportedly exploring the lifting of DRM restrictions on its music. Warner this week annouced a new bid to acquire EMI.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Edward” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Why did Steve Jobs drop his anti-DRM bombshell? – February 17, 2007
Translation of Macrovision CEO’s reply to Steve Jobs’ ‘Thoughts on Music’ – February 16, 2007
Macrovision posts pro-DRM open letter to Steve Jobs and digital entertainment industry – February 16, 2007
62% of music industry execs think eliminating DRM would increase music download sales – February 14, 2007
Warner’s DRM-loving Middlebronfman warns wireless industry it may lose music market to Apple iPhone – February 14, 2007
Windows Vista’s DRM is bad news – February 14, 2007
Monster Cable announces full support of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ call for DRM-free music – February 13, 2007
Microsoft’s Bach talks Apple iPhone, DRM, Zune, and more – February 09, 2007
Recording Industry Association of America wants their DRM, calls for Apple to license FairPlay – February 08, 2007
Warner’s Middlebronfman: Jobs’ DRM-free music call ‘without logic and merit, we’ll not abandon DRM’ – February 08, 2007
Dvorak: Apple CEO Steve Jobs is dead right about DRM – February 07, 2007
Apple’s Jobs jolts music industry; Zune exec calls Jobs’ call for DRM-free music ‘irresponsible’ – February 07, 2007
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ posts rare open letter: ‘Thoughts on Music’ – calls for DRM-free music – February 06, 2007


  1. This is great news. They actually have a chance of surviving here. Until this, they were selling DRM’d WMA files. FutureShop, one of the big retailers here (owned by BestBuy) uses Puretracks for their music service.

  2. iTunes music sales have always been slow in Canada.

    Why? It is legal to download from P2P sites in Canada. It is just illegal to offer your own collection for upload.

    We pay Canadian recording companies a fee for our recording media to cover piracy.

    Artists never see a dime, but Canadian recording companies don’t complain.

  3. said it before
    I’ll say it again

    No DRM
    mp3 encoded with the LAME codec
    some tracks available in FLAC (lossless) and/or .wav files
    works with Safari
    No artists have starved to death

    from their FAQ:
    “We believe that most people like to be treated as customers and not potential criminals – DRM is easily circumvented and just puts obstacles in the way of enjoying music.”

    Paraphrase of Bronfman: “You stand in the way of us victimizing our artists!”

  4. My PureTracks experience…

    I still had an active account with them from years ago when I was comparing iTunes to the competition (iTunes took the gold every time). I had to switch the User-Agent identity for Safari to MSIE 6.0 in order to even access I was able to preview and purchase an MP3, but when I attempted to download it, they provide two options:
    – download their proprietary Download Manager software (Windows-only).
    – use an “alternate” download method, which still tries to download a Windows-only .exe file (probably a compressed archive?)

    Needless to say, I bought a song and haven’t been able to get it. So much for their “DRM-free” efforts.

  5. Big Al,

    It has *never* been LEGAL to download from p2p networks in Canada, there just wasn’t a law that covered that activity, so it wasn’t technically illegal. That’s since been corrected. Besides, there’s something called “principles”. Get some.

  6. Just want to point out that has sold plain old MP3s (no DRM, obviously) for years no, and has a large catalog. Not as large as iTunes, of course, but bigger than this “50,000” songs “me too” player…

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