Amazon UK recently launched their online music store, which seemed top open much quieter than I would have expected. It did make national radio (Radio 1) on my way home from work, however they were more interested in the fact that albums are £3 each (I think this is promotional price) than the fact it is DRM free.
My biggest problem with iTunes (apart from the fact the iTunes software doesn’t run on linux) is that the files are DRM protected. This means I cannot play them on linux, and cannot play them on any portable player other than my iPod. Amazon’s music is mp3, DRM-free and will play on nearly all devices, all operating systems and I can even burn a mp3 (or normal audio cd) of songs to play elsewhere.
I seem to remember Apple trying to go DRM-free but the music companies objected (mind you, the music companies also wanted Apple to increase prices) but that doesn’t seem to have affected Amazon.
The radio news I was listening to suggested a price war resulting from this, however I am more interested in getting music I can actually play how and where I want.
As a side story, a friend recently had to get a new computer as their old one died. They got the music they had (windows WMA files, which were DRM protected) from the old disk, but had a hard time playing it. The new computer wasn’t allowed to play it! It took a lot of effort to get it working.
This is my biggest objection to DRM – It actually make things worse for the consumer, including making it harder to play and harder to backup.