Sony BMG Music Entertainment, the last major music label holding out against selling music online without copy protection, relented today...

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SEATTLE — Sony BMG Music Entertainment, the last major music label holding out against selling music online without copy protection, relented today and announced Amazon.com‘s digital music store will carry songs by its artists.

Until this week, Sony BMG had resisted selling songs from its catalog without embedding Digital Rights Management (DRM) coding, which prevented them from being copied.

Amazon’s digital music store sells songs only in the MP3 format, which can be burned onto CDs, copied to multiple PCs and played on any number of digital media players, including Apple’s iPod and Microsoft’s Zune.

Sony BMG, which is jointly owned by Japan’s Sony and Germany’s Bertelsmann, said Tuesday that it also plans to sell some DRM-free music directly to customers in the U.S. and Canada.

Platinum MusicPass, as Sony’s system is called, will start Jan. 15 with 37 titles. To use it, shoppers must buy a $12.99 card in person at a store — Best Buy, Target and other retailers will sell them — and then log on and download music.

Sony BMG artists will begin showing up on Amazon’s MP3 store later in January. The label’s artists include Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears and Bob Dylan.

Universal Music Group, EMI Music Group and Warner Music Group had already agreed to sell large portions of their catalogs on Amazon, as had thousands of independent labels. Most of the 3.1 million available songs cost 89 cents to 99 cents each and most albums sell for $5.99 to $9.99.