Orange is the latest mobile phone company to see the light and give DRM the boot. Over the next few months, the entire catalogue of music will be upgraded to be available without restrictions from the Orange Music Store. Universal and EMI are on board, along with a Belle and Sebastian B-side of independent labels. (That's the collective noun for indie labels -- either that or a Sonic Youth T-shirt of indie labels, we can never remember.)
Orange converges its mobile and Web music offering, so when you've ponied up your cash for your MP3, it's downloaded to your computer and a copy is sent to your Orange phone. For frees! As the track contains no digital right management jiggery-pokery, you'll be able to put it on another computer or MP3 player, or on a CD.
Orange is in the middle of refeshing the design of the music portal, which will bring together music content such as volunteer scheme RockCorps and access to handset offers such as Nokia's Comes With Music. That's burdened with DRM though.
Tracks will be available at a tiered pricing, starting from 79p. That's comparable to iTunes DRM-less music, but more than Vodafone's multi-buy offerings. Orange has promised to get back to us with more detail on pricing and MP3 quality. We'll keep you posted.
Update: The quality of files will depend on the label, and currently stand between 256Kbps and 320Kbps. Tracks will be priced at 79p, 99p, £1.09, £1.19, £1.29 and £1.49. Orange has avoided a single generic cost, although it isn't clear yet what criteria will set the price. Meanwhile, albums will range between £5.49 and £9.99. Safe.