Last week, news that Sony BMG would soon drop DRM encryption from their music library leaked but details were scarce. Now, the company has confirmed that it will indeed join the other three major labels in selling DRM-free MP3 files to consumers, just not quite in the way everyone wanted.

Instead of partnering with online music stores to offer its catalog in the unencrypted format, the company has come up with an unusual process: customers will have to walk into a retailer, pay $12.99 for a plastic card called the “Platinum MusicPass”, and then redeem a code from the back of the card on Sony’s MusicPass.com website to download their music files.

Topping it all off, Sony BMG has opted to support only full album sales and not the more common online practice of ala carte singles. Is this their best plan for competing with Apple’s iTunes and piracy? Clearly they haven’t thought this through.