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Wal-Mart to shut down DRM servers Oct. 9

updated 10:20 pm EDT, Sun September 28, 2008

Wal-Mart done with DRM

Wal-Mart is following the actions of Microsoft, Yahoo and Virgin, shutting down its DRM (Digital Rights Management) servers on October 9. The move will render any Wal-Mart-purchased, copy protected WMA music files inert if not burned to CD prior to the server shutdown. Boing Boing is reporting that Wal-Mart has emailed customers warning them of the impending server shutdown and its effect on their collections.

"If you have purchased protected WMA music files from our site prior to Feb 2008, we strongly recommend that you back up your songs by burning them to a recordable audio CD," the message reads. "By backing up your songs, you will be able to access them from any personal computer... Beginning October 9, we will no longer be able to assist with digital rights management issues for protected WMA files."

The email adds that customers will not be able to transfer songs to other computers after the October 9th cut-off or access songs after changing or reinstalling their operating system or in the event of a system crash.

The server shutdown will finish Wal-Mart's transition to completely DRM-free music downloads, which begun in 2007 and was prompted both through lackluster sales of protected music and initiatives by major labels to produce a stronger alternative to iTunes. Universal Music Group chief Doug Morris in particular has complained of Apple's online store as imposing "golden handcuffs" through its popularity, which forces Universal and others to accept Apple's terms for music sales if it intends to remain successful; the company has since deliberately withheld DRM-free music from iTunes while switching to MP3 at several other major stores in a bid to render them iPod-compatible and reduce a dependency on the electronics giant.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. slider

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 1999

    +2

    Makes iTunes alt Less

    This should be something purchasers should consider when buying a Zune. When you look at market share, the Zune is still very small. While it's seems to be growing and it's latest iteration has gotten decent reviews, M$ has a track record of abandoning previous users of their now defunct DRM.

    It's very interesting seen the role reversal between M$ and Apple, because a very similar argument could have been made with Window and Mac OS, though Apple never just quit it's OS (evolution of OS' withstanding).

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999

    +3

    WalMart should refund

    everybodies money. They did it for the movies they 'sold' last year. Music isn't any different. User's shouldn't have to downgrade their music by re-encoding it twice [to a CD as audio and back as MP3 or AAC] just to keep using their so-called "purchase".

  1. Monde

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2004

    0

    Yes, but

    Yes, that would be the right thing to do. Who ever heard of such a thing. Buy a song and then it's gone. What a rip off. Yet, a proper copy shouldn't "downgrade" the music. Depending on how you encode your files, there should be no discernible loss of sound quality. I would say that it is a monumental drag to do so and would only buy DRM free music to begin with. I use the iTMS these days to check for music via genius etc., then buy DRM free, higher bitrate at amazon. Many are doing this, as evidenced by Amazon's recent rise in popularity.

  1. dimmer

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Feb 2006

    +1

    Y'know though

    The MP3 format Amazon uses is stone age: a 128kbps AAC file has much more quality than a 256kbps MP3 file (and uses less space!) But, hey, it's MP3, so it must be good right?

    The steady and ongoing decay of DRM'd music is a good thing though.

  1. Athens

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Jan 2003

    +3

    more power to Apple

    More reason to only buy from Apple, all these other companies s**** you.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -1

    intert

    How does music become intert?

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -7

    Re: more power to apple

    More reason to only buy from Apple, all these other companies s**** you.

    No, it is less reasons to buy from Apple, at least for DRM'd music or video. Everyone makes the assumption Apple's servers won't go down some day, but why worry about the future. Just go DRM-free.

  1. krb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2000

    +1

    customers win

    Ultimately, it's a win for consumers.

  1. Eldernorm

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2007

    0

    @testudo

    "No, it is less reasons to buy from Apple, at least for DRM'd music or video. Everyone makes the assumption Apple's servers won't go down some day,"

    Yes, it is possible for Apple to shut down some day. BUt these "GREAT anti-iTunes replacements" are shutting down now or have already shut down. Everything dies. these just died early cause people don't want them. Just a thought. ;-)

    PS. Apple started the down load revolution and also started the DRM free revolution (remember EMI?) but cannot force the music to allow it to offer DRM free. Its THEIR call (just for those who do not know better.... and you know who you are. :-) )

    Just a thought.
    en

  1. krb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2000

    0

    customers win

    Ultimately, it's a win for consumers.

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