Warner is the third major music label to offer its complete catalog available on the Internet without DRM protection. Only Sony BMG is still sticking with pesky DRM:
The announcement means that EMI, Universal, and Warner now offer their catalogues in DRM-free digital formats, making Sony BMG (of rootkit fame) the lone holdout among the majors. Amazon now claims to offer for than 2.9 million songs in MP3 format from over 33,000 unique labels.
Warner's announcement says nothing about offering its content through other services such as iTunes, and represents the music industry's attempt to make life a bit more difficult for Apple after all the years in which the company held the keys to music's digital kingdom; no one could sell major label tracks to iPod owners except for iTunes, and iTunes even become a go-to destination for non-iPod owners who wanted a simple, cheap way to pick up some songs. Now, with the move to MP3, the labels that have chosen to open their music have a way to encourage multiple download services to flourish, keeping labels safe from being dominated by any single digital distributor.