Norah Jones Makes Legal Downloads More Widely Available, Adorable

Brian Raftery | December 6, 2006 8:37 am

Oh, Norah Jones! We’re just nutso about you these days, despite never having actually listened to any of your music. For not only are just cute as a button–stop looking at us like that, will ya? You’re gonna make us blush!–but you also just released your new single as a legally downloadable MP3, a rare feat among major-label artists (rock band Relient K also put out a for-sale MP3 this week, but they are decidedly less mesmeric). From today’s Wall Street Journal:

The releases come as some high-tech and music-industry executives are becoming increasingly concerned about Apple’s growing clout in the music business. Only online music files purchased from iTunes, ripped from users’ own CDs or downloaded from pirate services can be played on the popular iPod. Copy-protected songs purchased from Yahoo and other legitimate sources don’t work on it. By selling music in the MP3 format without copy-protection software, Yahoo can offer music that works easily on iPods.

Blue Note General Manager Zach Hochkeppel called the initiative “an experiment,” adding that he doesn’t believe it will cut into sales of Ms. Jones’s forthcoming album, also called “Thinking About You,” which is due out Jan. 30. That’s because even if early copies of the song end up widely copied among friends or online, Ms. Jones’s mostly adult fan base is thought to be less likely than teenage pop fans to be satisfied with just one song from the album and thus willing to buy the entire album even if they have gotten one song free. “Nobody gets hurt — we think,” Mr. Hochkeppel said.

The article notes that the Buyin’ Jones-Sound Massacre could be the first of many battle cries in the war between the music industry and Apple; as the labels realize how much of a bum deal they got from Steve Jobs, they’ll start pushing to work around the ITunes store’s digital-music domain. If this results in a no-holds-barred cage match between Jobs and Universal nag Doug Morris, we’re all for it–especially if we can bootleg the whole thing and put it up on BitTorrent.

In a Turnabout, Record Industry Releases MP3s [WSJ]