Page last updated at 10:42 GMT, Friday, 13 March 2009

Vodafone to offer DRM-free tracks

Lady Gaga, Getty
Songs by Lady Gaga will be available through the Vodafone store

Vodafone has joined the growing band of firms that have removed copyright controls from music they sell.

The operator said much of the music it offers would be free of Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems by the summer.

Songs from artists such as Britney Spears, Coldplay, Duffy, Lady Gaga and Lily Allen will be available via the Vodafone Music store.

It has signed deals with Universal, Sony, and EMI to offer the tracks without controls.

Increasing numbers of music stores are turning away from DRM systems that try to limit what people can do with the music they have bought.

Apple, 7Digital, and Amazon now all offer customers DRM-free tracks.

Vodafone said that any customers who have already bought copy-protected tracks from its three launch partners would be able to swap them for rights-free MP3s when the service starts.

The firm said that although it had no agreement with record label Warner, more than one million songs would be available via its music store. It said it was talking to Warners about stripping DRM off songs released by the record label.

Tracks can be downloaded and played on PCs or phones. They can also be played on portable music players, such as an iPod, provided the device is registered to a Vodafone customer.

By the summer Germany, Italy, UK, Spain and New Zealand would be offering DRM-free tracks, said Vodafone, with other territories following later.

In the UK, songs will be available for 1 and albums for 6 though discounts will be available for those buying more than 15 tracks. The DRM-free services will live alongside Vodafone's other music services.

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