another DRM server bites the dust

Walmart… (via BoingBoing).

From: Walmart Music Team
Date: Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 7:42 PM
Subject: Important Information About Your Walmart.com Digital Music Purchases
To: xxxxxx@gmail.com

Important Information About Your Digital Music Purchases

We hope you are enjoying the increased music quality/bitrate and the improved usability of Walmart’s MP3 music downloads. We began offering MP3s in August 2007 and have offered only DRM (digital rights management) -free MP3s since February 2008. As the final stage of our transition to a full DRM-free MP3 download store, Walmart will be shutting down our digital rights management system that supports protected songs and albums purchased from our site.

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. By backing up your songs, you will be able to access them from any personal computer. This change does not impact songs or albums purchased after Feb 2008, as those are DRM-free.

Beginning October 9, we will no longer be able to assist with digital rights management issues for protected WMA files purchased from Walmart.com. If you do not back up your files before this date, you will no longer be able to transfer your songs to other computers or access your songs after changing or reinstalling your operating system or in the event of a system crash. Your music and video collections will still play on the originally authorized computer.

Thank you for using Walmart.com for music downloads. We are working hard to make our store better than ever and easier to use.

Walmart Music Team

There’s not much to add, is there…

It’s nice that they’re transitioning to a DRM-free store, but can’t they just give the suckers who music crippled by DRM the unshackled tracks? Just another example that buying anything locked down by DRM is not a long-term investment, but a short- or medium-term rental.

7 comments

  1. I do like the fact though, that they are going to DRM free. I mean, it’s Walmart, how much more middle-of-the-road American retail can you get? That is good, big news.

    DRM (at least the current versions) will become like pay phones booths. Still around some places, but rarely used.

    Only thing I hate is that these offers are usually still limited to US – can’t access them from overseas. So I am STILL forced to pirate them from Russia. Get those stupid suits to finally sort out their revenue-splitting!!!

  2. Only thing I hate is that these offers are usually still limited to US – can’t access them from overseas.

    I’d offer you a proxy on my dedicated server, but even though the datacenter is in Miami, the IP numbers are assigned to Panama…

  3. How hard would it be for a megalith like Walmart to maintain a DRM server?  Jeez…

    I’m just glad I haven’t spent that much money on the DRM’d WMVs.

  4. How hard would it be for a megalith like Walmart to maintain a DRM server?

    I’d guess the DRM infrastructure is comprised of more than just a server and for a cut-throat company like Walmart, I don’t see them wasting money on it if they’re going DRM-free anyway.

    What interests me is if all the tracks you could rent with DRM will be available without DRM. If so, they are really sticking it to their sucker customers if they don’t give them the tracks they rented for free.

  5. The costs come not just from the server but the support staff needed for it too, in terms of customer service. I would venture a guess that customers had a decent number of problems with the DRM’d tracks and Walmart was tired of supporting it.

    In any case, a company like Walmart is going to look at it from a purely cost perspective. They found they could save a pretty penny by not having DRM, so they killed it.

  6. They found they could save a pretty penny by not having DRM, so they killed it.

    Hey, sometimes deregulation DOES work in favour of the small man wink

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