Sony BMG trades cards for non-DRM music

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USA Today is reporting that Sony BMG, the no. 2 record company after Universal Music, will sell plastic cards called “Platinum MusicPass” to replace individual albums for a price of $12.99. Buyers then enter a code to a new music site, MusicPass.com, to download that card’s album, DRM-free.

“The bigger picture is to make our music available in many different formats, through many different channels, in many different ways,” said the president of Sony BMG’s global digital business and U.S sales, Thomas Hesse.

Best Buy, Target and Fred’s stores will sell them first on January 15; and by January 31, Winn-Dixie, Coconuts, FYE, Spec’s and Wherehouse will sell them. Like all gift cards, they will be activated at the store.

Sony BMG will initially offer cards by 37 albums by performers including Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood and Celine Dion. Buyers can also download a digital booklet, like those from its album counterpart, and bonus tracks and videos.

As well, for a price of $19.99; Sony BMG will offer cards for Kenny Chesney’s album Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates and Celine Dion’s Taking Chances that will allow users to download a second album by the same artist.

Hasse have said that they hope that other music companies will offer album cards as well; and expects that MusicPass cards will be sold in additional stores and possibly in concert venues. No plans were announced for an international release.

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