Amazon is going where Apple tried (and failed) to: a DRM-free online music store. Set to launch this year, Amazon’s venture won't sell tracks protected by digital rights management, the anti-copying technology that music labels have required Apple’s iTunes to use. To stay DRM-free, Amazon will partner with EMI Music, home to Coldplay and Norah Jones, and 12,000 independent labels.
The new venture could pose the first major threat to iTunes, which struck its own DRM-free deal with EMI this year. Unlike iTunes' tunes, Amazon's music will play on any device. But to take on Apple, Amazon must convince other major labels to drop their DRM demands—something Apple's Steve Jobs has failed to do.