Thank you EMI for releasing music singles without any DRM protection on it. While I continue my love/hate relationship with the IPod, I do believe that my music needs to be portable and free. I recently bought the new Treo 680 for my wife and was in the process of loading music on her device when I remembered that my selection was limited. I also have the same issue with the new Blackberry Pearl I just bought for myself. Why is this the case? It is because the hardware and technology vendors want to lock consumers into their ecosystems. It is because the music companies are afraid of piracy. In this case, it is because any music I bought from ITunes over the last few years requires me to have a device (iPod, iTunes, or music phone) that can play ITunes or AAC encoded tracks. Sure I could go convert the files to a wav format and then reconvert them to MP3 but who has the time or desire to do so. The same goes for any device using Microsoft technology – your new device has to support WMA DRM. In the end, I buy my music but it can’t go anywhere with me which is quite frustrating. As we all know, this will become a bigger problem in the future as more and more devices support music like the Treo and new Blackberry Pearl. As a consumer, I don’t necessarily want to be locked into one vendor forever and want to be able to easily port my songs between different devices. There are forward thinking individuals in the industry like Michael Robertson (full disclosure, Michael is also the founder of portfolio company Sipphone) who wants to store your music in the cloud and allow you to access it from any device – wireless, Tivo, any PC, but at the end of the day the problem is that I still need to have iTunes if I want to play the music I bought from them. This has to end! So EMI is releasing a Norah Jones single through Yahoo Music with no DRM. This is a baby step but a big one. Maybe the fear of Apple’s dominance in the music industry is outweighing the industry’s concern for piracy? Either way, this is a welcome step for consumers. I still may go back to the stone age and buy CDs and rip them myself as I want my music to be free, free of all DRM so I can use it how I want and on what device I want.