READ A MAJOR UPDATE TO THIS STORY HERE.
BusinessWeek is reporting and our sources confirm that Sony BMG will offer at least part of its catalog available DRM free in the first quarter of the year making it the last and final major label group to drop copy restrictions on downloads.
A broad "experiment" is in the final planning stages, but details of some of Sony BMG's efforts are already emerging. Justin Timberlake, who records for Sony's Jive and other artists from the merged label group will be participating in a Super Bowl promotion with Pepsi on Feb. 3 as part of a free distribution of 1 billion songs through Amazon's popular DRM-free download service.
Sony has already been experimenting with DRM-free song giveaways for developing artists for the last six months. "A lot of these tests have led people to believe that maybe this works," said a Sony BMG executive who asked not to be identified.