Walmart Shuts Down Music Store, Deactivates DRM-Protected Songs

Last week, Walmart sent out emails to its online music store customers letting them know that on October 9th, 2008, they will no longer be able to play any DRM-crippled tracks. Unlike Yahoo, which did the right thing by offering free replacement downloads of unprotected songs when they killed their DRM program, Walmart simply brags about its new unlicensed model and tells you to burn your protected tracks to CD if you really want to listen to them in the future. Good job, Walmart, there goes another betrayed consumer into the welcoming arms of digital piracy. And another. And another…

“Wal*Mart shutting down DRM server, nuking your music collection — only people who pay for music risk losing it to DRM shenanigans” [BoingBoing]
(Photo: Kamoteus and Joe Mad)

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  1. Technick says:

    This is great… A co-worker bought some music from here and asked me about it before she did. I told her she was wasting her money because this could happen and it did!

  2. ElizabethD says:

    Wow. I’m glad I stuck with iTunes, incomplete though it may be.

    • armour says:

      @ElizabethD: you think it can’t happen to iTunes? Then you’re a sucker! What about 10 years from now? Let’s look at DRM and what you can do

      1. I have CD’s going back almost 20 years worth how long will DRM keep going ? no one knows but from this it doesn’t look like long.
      2. I don’t need any ones permission to play my CD’s on any computer or cd Player. I can play it on more then 3 cd players if I like. DRM nope you locked in to X number of computers and Players.
      3. I can lend a CD to a friend take them to a party. DRM music not so much unless people like leaving their iPods on a table (ya like that a smart Idea)
      4. I can sell my CD!!!!! DRM music nope it’s like catching herpes once you have it it’s your for life.
      5. I can rip a high quality MP3 to my quality of liking not being stuck on a arbitrary bit rate that the selling DRM infested music site sells.
      6. With CD’s I can burn any number of compellation CD’s I like with out limits. DRM nope only can bur X number of times then you need to burn from one the initial CD’s you burned the DRM music to.

      Let’s look at companies that have done this very large companies that have turned off their DRM and left people hanging and potentially repaying for their music after being an honest consumer screwed over by DRM.

      Wal-Mart
      Yahoo
      Microsoft
      Major League Baseball

      • cristiana says:

        @armour:
        Your rant about iTunes is somewhat incorrect, a large portion of their catalog is DRM free.

      • ViperBorg says:

        @armour: Amazon MP3 downloads.

        Done.|

        Get off your CD high horse. Who are you, anyway? Metallica?

        • armour says:

          @ViperBorg:

          No I’m not Metallica because
          1. I said I’m against DRM Media and
          2. I’m not calling people a thief that rip CD’s in to a digital format.

          No I deal with small and medium business and countless home users that have had data crashes and loss of digital media and the cost and problems they have gone through.

          I have seen archived burned CD’s that have CD rot and the data is unrecoverable in less then 5 years of storage. I have a large collection of legacy hardware to recover backup from SCISI disks data tapes, ZIP drives, ect that less then a decade were all in high use what dose the next 10 years hold?

          My high horse it that many home users don’t have the knowledge of digital archiving and are paying a cost for it. it is also hard to prove to an insurance company that there were 2000 paid for digital song that got destroyed in the house fire. there are many issues that I face day to day with digital media that I don’t like that personally I wont buy it. I have an extensive collection of over 3000 DVD’s and CD’s that I have the physical media in original state that I can do many things with without additional cost or restriction of formats. I have physical proof I own it and as I said I can sell it lend it do what ever I want to it can you do that with a digital format? You can but is it stealing and ethical?

          I hate RIAA and MPAA as much as the next person but I’m not a thief and people need to be paid for the product produced but on the same side consumers need some protection and fair treatment and that not happening with digital sales.

      • silver-bolt says:

        @armour: Apple can disable the drm and leave any drm’d itunes music as normal none crippled aac files with one minor update. Hell, Harmony already does that.

  3. ShadowFalls says:

    Not to mention the fact that if you purchase anything, after 90 days, you can’t re-download it.

  4. nicemarmot617 says:

    And the recording industry wonders why it’s dying. Wake up idiots! People don’t want you to rip them off constantly. They will steal from you instead.

  5. vladthepaler says:

    Good. Maybe Walmart’s victims will learn to avoid DRM.

  6. El_Guapo says:

    This is typical ham-fisted Wal-Mart douchebaggery. I hate for those who bought their music to lose access to it. It is well and truly The Suck.

    But a part inside of me cheers for the sweet sweet validation this provides – DRM doesn’t work, and screws consumers. And now a nice swathe of consumers are about to learn the lessons we already know. The sad thing is, they’re going to learn the hard way.

  7. MyPetFly says:

    I haven’t purchased music in years, not just because of DRM though. However, it certainly gives me a reason to not buy any more. With the technology available these days, it’s time for the artists to ditch the labels anyway.

    • Etoiles says:

      @MyPetFly: I haven’t purchased music in years, not just because of DRM though. However, it certainly gives me a reason to not buy any more. With the technology available these days, it’s time for the artists to ditch the labels anyway.

      That holds up when you do purchase — early and often — from the non-labeled artists whose music you do enjoy. (See also: Jonathan Coulton, one of my favorite musicians and definitely my favorite internet success story.) But “purchasing” is still a really key part of making that work. It’s just a matter of who’s distributing and who’s keeping the cash. The RIAA can bite me, but I’m happy to buy directly from artists I wish to support.

  8. emnik says:

    Consumerist says: “on October 9th, 2008, they will no longer be able to play any DRM-crippled tracks”

    Walmart’s email says: “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.”

    Am I misreading it? It doesn’t say you will not be able to play the music anymore. There’s a big difference between not being able to *play* the music and not being able to *move* it.

  9. I love the less than a week notice I received in the e-mail they sent. I loved even more that I had this obnoxiously short time frame to find any music I’d purchased from them…then follow their instructions to violate the DMCA…so I could still access the music.
    Needless to say that I never found the time to track down that music.

    This is why you won’t find me buying anything but unprotected content online.

    F-you, Wal-Mart.

  10. EnochOchu says:

    Our firm has been working to put a stake through the heart of DRM for many years now.
    If you have purchased any Wal-Mart DRM protected music from their online music store, or your know someone who has, please contact me. There are options other than just letting Wal-Mart dictate that your music is “nuked.”
    ahimmelfarb@KamberEdelson.com

  11. FreemanB says:

    As irritating as it may be for those affected, it could be good in the long term if a company completely shuts off the DRM with no consumer recourse. The more bad press DRM receives, the better. Events like this also make it more likely for situations to arise where the laws supporting DRM (Like the DCMA) could be challenged in the courts. Now if only someone could explain things like this to an executive with any kind of authority over it. Unfortunately, too many of them have no clue what they are doing.

  12. JoshMac says:

    How is this not illegal? Is it because the terms and conditions were agreed to? I think it’s time that there is at least a law that a company must replace the DRM songs with DRM-free tracks. Paying for something and taking it away is just wrong, this is not a gray area, people paid and now the product is gone. It’s like a buying a couch from Target, they go out of business, you come home from work and have to watch tv while sitting on the floor.

    • flamincheney says:

      @JoshMac:
      I think that is the risk taken when you purchase a license to something (video games, movies, music, etc) as opposed to an actual product. You become completely vulnerable to whatever terms and conditions apply.

      It is sad that you can get a better product by stealing than purchasing.

      I just hope that before DRM becomes any more widespread enough people will be soured on it to accept it. The more limitations that people are aware of when making a purchase the more unlikely they are to make that purchase.

    • stinerman says:

      @JoshMac:

      Just like with software, I’m more than willing to bet these tracks weren’t sold, but licensed. That is, you didn’t actually buy anything but the right to listen to them until Wal-Mart decides to pull the plug.

      Yes, this is ridiculous. Will it ever change? Not bloody likely.

      • RedSonSuperDave says:

        @stinerman: The thing is, if you asked the Wal-Mart employees who sold the music to you in the first place if they were selling you music or a license, it’s 99% probable that they’d say they were selling music.

        I don’t buy “licenses” except at the sporting goods counter, I don’t know anybody else who does, and I don’t know any stores that sell them. I know lots of stores that sell music and software, though.

        I go into much greater detail about this in “Up on a Soapbox” on the Consumerist Forums if anybody’s interested.

    • ameyer says:

      @JoshMac: For what it’s worth, I believe the courts actually would rule that customers bought music from WalMart, not licensed it.

      Also, I think the title of this post should be “Walmart Shuts Down Music Store, Steals DRM-Crippled Songs”

      • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

        @ameyer: They didn’t “buy” it, they rented it. This was the business model: “We have a kajillion songs, you can buy access to them for a monthly fee”. You weren’t buying the song, you were buying the access.

        • silver-bolt says:

          @Evil_Otto: That was not walmart’s business model. They were not like Netflix, where you rent time with as many songs as you want. Their business plan was, pay 99 cents per song, and that’s it. Sounds like something a judge would agree is a purchase and not a license.

  13. KRFK5 says:

    Just another case to support why I still buy CDs (besides just enojying having a physical object with artwork, etc…) and take the 5 minutes to import them into digital format. Not that I would ever buy digital music from Wal-Mart, but its not totally unreasonable to think that at some point Apple could do this.

  14. syndprod says:

    This was one of the best posts about DRM that Consumerist has ever posted. I often send it to friends wondering why I just won’t “give in to iTunes” or any other DRM-crippled music stores.

    How I Became a Music Pirate: [consumerist.com]

  15. catcherintheeye says:

    Amazon has a DRM-free music service I use, decent music selection too.

    • B says:

      @catcherintheeye: I also use the Amazon digital music store, it’s wonderful, and the bitrate is higher than most, too.

      • Ass_Cobra says:

        @B:

        eMusic is fairly awesome if you have less than mainstream musical tastes. Everything is DRM free, reasonable bit-rate and it costs 14.99/month which gets you 65 tracks in that period. The only complaint that I have is that in certain cases they have an album but a few of the tracks from that album are not available for download. I prefer to listen to albums in their entirety for the most part and this stops that. All in all a good service which I highly recommend.

    • jamar0303 says:

      @catcherintheeye: Not quite. Most of the stuff I’m after can’t be found in digital form- when I search for it it brings up a CD result. Said result is an import from amazon.co.jp…

  16. mugsywwiii says:

    This is one of the reasons I laughed at all of the people who thought downloaded movies would beat out HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. People even thought Microsoft was backing HD-DVD to drag out the “war” so movie downloads could take off. Hah!

    I have no problem with DRM at all. But I would not buy a DRMed file unless I was willing to lose access to it in the future. On the other hand, I think DRM is PERFECT for rental services like Napster. All you can eat as long as you keep paying the monthly fee. Also great for Netflix – if it weren’t for DRM, there’s no way we’d have Netflix streaming movies.

    • @mugsywwiii: When did Blu-Ray “win” over downloaded movies/VOD? I don’t see it as a settled matter at all. The fact that NetFlix is offering streaming video/selling a streaming player seems to indicate that they think VOD/downloaded certainly has a strong future.

      • mugsywwiii says:

        @Im a people person. Who drinks.:
        Way to totally miss the point. I cited Netflix as an example where DRMed downloads shine – rentals. But it’s hardly a competitors to Blu-Ray; it’s not high-def, and the selection is not great. People aren’t clamoring to *buy* DRMed movies. They may take off sometime in the future, if an industry standard DRM is established. But I still don’t see them overtaking physical media for years.

    • bjcolby15 says:

      @mugsywwiii: I’ve been with Napster for almost 8 months, and a satisfied customer too. Well worth the $14.95/month. If I really and truly want the album, I’ll buy it online or at Borders; I haven’t purchased any of the 99 cent songs yet, though.

  17. joerdie says:

    “Honestly, who buys music from Walmart?”

    That was my first thought after reading this. After a little research, I find that EVERYONE BUT ME buys music from Walmart.

    It may make me sem like I am old and whiney but vinyl sounds great, costs less than CD’s, and I can easily make a digital copy for my computer which can then be transfered to car, mp3 player, etc.

    I am assuming that what people want to hear is released on vinyl however and maybe this isnt such a good idea after all for many.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @joerdie:
      Are you talking about USED RECORDS? They don’t make vinyl anymore, do they? (I miss it – great fun when it came with a poster)

      And if you rip a record on one of those rip turntables, can you get rid of the scratchies?

      • joerdie says:

        @HogwartsAlum: I buy new vinyl all the time. Most bands that have some staying power (re: not pop) will release records. I buy it from the bands sites, or mom and pop record stores locally. Even Amazon carries some vinyl.

        When I record vinyl to digital, I clean the record and use a good needle. I rarely encounter hiss or pops.

        • HogwartsAlum says:

          @joerdie:

          COOL!!!

          I guess it’s not worthwhile to record my old scratchy records. I’ll just buy the CDs. After I check to see if they are DRM-free, of course! ;)

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @joerdie:
      Dang it, my comments won’t post!

      If you rip a record on one of those rip turntables, can you get rid of the scratchies?

    • ajlei says:

      @joerdie: Where are you getting your vinyl? There’s not a very good selection at any of the stores I’ve been to (not that I’m in the market for them or anything) and when they do have something I like, it’s usually $5+ more expensive than a CD. Then again, I don’t buy CDs either.

  18. sirellyn says:

    I appreciate that people want to sign onto a pirate free system of buying music, but DRM is terrible.

  19. unpolloloco says:

    *cough* fairuse4wm *cough*

  20. QuanikaAte says:

    I’ve got hundreds of DRM protected songs from Walmart. Their music download site was easy to use and the price was right.

    I haven’t downloaded anything in the last year, though. I switched to having Walmart “build” me a CD with the songs I wanted. I did this mainly because where I work we’re not allowed to have any homemade CDs, only commercially created ones.

    I’ve already burned all my downloaded to CD; I did that as I downloaded them. If fact – I’ve got two copies of everything.

    I just hope that everyone else who downloaded the protected music has made CDs, or that they see/notice the email and makes the CDs now.

  21. Skeptic says:

    I agree that turning off the DRM key servers is a breach of contract, unfairly further crippling the product retroactively.

    If companies are going to sell retroactively nukeable goods I should pay with retroactively nukeable money. Purchasers should be able to pay with DRMed funds, and turn off the key server to the money, so that it can’t be transferred to another computer or company. I’m guessing WalMart would have a problem with that, even as they don’t have a problem with doing essentially the same thing to the music people paid for.

  22. bairdwallace says:

    And RIAA killed http://www.muxtape.com this week too.

  23. DarkKnightShyamalan says:

    The good news may be that news like this will give Steve Jobs more leverage to convince the labels to let him sell DRM-free music on iTunes, like he wants to.

  24. Anonymous says:

    ham-fisted Wal-Mart douchebaggery ? No doubt. (can Wal-Mart act any, other way ?)

    But, in a rather sad sense, it also serves anyone who bought DRMed music right. Come on folks! It doesn’t take much of a mental stretch at all to realize in advance how easily DRM can turn into a clusterf*ck.

    Use your heads. Buy CDs and rip/encode ‘em yourself. Or buy non-DRMed files from the likes of Amazon.com.

  25. Luckie says:

    I had never even heard of this. I must be sadly behind the times. On the flip side, my old-fashionedness has prevented me from getting screwed.

    “Allright, Wal-Mart customers, you can’t listen to the music you bought from us anymore, but if you burn to CD it will be okay. BTW, we have those CDs. Come buy them so you can keep what you already bought. Ohhhh yeaaaahhh.”

  26. axiomatic says:

    I try not to buy anything with any DRM on it if I possibly can.

    Steam is about the only DRM I will tolerate.

    I do not tolerate Walmart period.

  27. InThrees says:

    The simple truth that this teaches consumers: Any purchasing scheme that has a ¨phone home¨ element doesn´t actually involve any real purchasing.

    If a game can only phone home 5 times to activate, you didn´t purchase it, you licensed it.

    If the music you thought you bought is susceptible to failing to play because the software can´t verify your right to play it (i.e., can´t phone home because the ¨home¨ no longer exists) then you licensed it.

    I can envision a solid revenue scheme that revolves around licensing, but it involves a weekly, monthly, or yearly licensing fee instead of a per-track ¨purchase¨ price. I would view as reasonable an offer to pay $19.99 for a week´s access to a reasonably-sized catalogue or collection, with an all-you-can download non-limit.

    What is totally not reasonable is representing per-track prices as a bona fide purchase price when it is anything but.

    This is why I don´t buy label music any more – even the vectors that aren´t DRM-crippled. The (big, failing) industry as a whole disgusts me. I will buy directly from an artist, however, if there is no DRM.

    • quail says:

      @InThrees: Here’s something I learned this year about the music industry. Artists get paid their full royalty amount when music is purchased but they only get half of it when it’s rented/licensed, like use in a television show.

      Guess what. The industry considers downloaded music as rented. The artist gets half. The industry never considered what you dowloaded as belonging to you anyway.

  28. InThrees says:

    I meant $19.99 per month there, small difference.

  29. the Goat says:

    The worst part about this is walmart is only doing it to save the cost of running the DRM server. How much can keeping the server going really cost?

  30. BeeBoo says:

    I’ll stick to my eight track cassettes, thank you very much. I’ve *never* had a problem with DRM.

  31. HogwartsAlum says:

    I have iTunes but I hardly ever download anything. I usually buy CDS if I want an album. Then I rip it onto my computer. If I’m putting it in the car, I make a copy. Lucky I did that because someone broke in and stole my CD visor thing. They only got the copies, though, not my actual CDs, and not the electronic versions. Ha!

    Hell, I still have a bunch of records and tapes.

  32. vastrightwing says:

    But what about my DRM? I thought DRM was good, that’s why they were selling it to me. I want my DRM back! From now on, I only buy DRM from reputable companies like Apple!

  33. Dawnrazor says:

    This is one of the main reasons I steadfastly refuse to join the digital download bandwagon and prefer to cling to my antiquated CDs.

    Putting aside all sound quality arguments, the economic advantage to downloading music is really not that great. IIRC downloads from iTunes are priced $0.99 per song or $9.99 for the entire album. CDs can be easily bought from any number of online stores for $12-15 maximum (often much less for older titles).

    Let’s see: for $9.99 one can buy an album of music which has been digitally neutered (128 Kbps is NOT EVEN CLOSE to “high-fidelity” sound), is distributed in nontangible form with Draconian restrictions on its use, and contains no artwork or liner notes (other than perhaps the cover art integrated into the metadata of the music file). OTOH for just $2-5 more (actually, many older titles are available at various online CD stores for $6.99-8.99 which is LESS than iTunes would charge) one gets physical media which can be ripped and backed up as needed, is recorded with “full” CD fidelity, and is much more durable than any HD. (All of my CDs from the early-mid 80s play just fine; what are the odds that any HD from the same time period is still functional?) Basically, nothing at all is lost by buying CDs and then ripping them to iTunes (or one’s program of choice)-in fact, it is actually BETTER this way: more convenient because one does not have to deal with stupid DRM restrictions and better sound because the disc can be ripped at a higher bit rate than the paltry 128 Kbps that iTunes, et al. “permit”.

    The only DISADVANTAGE to purchasing music on tangible media is the need for physical storage space. (Then again, I find it much more relaxing to browse through shelves of CDs than to scroll through playlists when selecting music for a listening session.)

    • quail says:

      @Dawnrazor: Remember when the music and computer industry got upset with Bill Gates for saying CDs were the only way to buy music and get what you paid for?

  34. mike says:

    What service do you use to download MP3s or any other DRM-free music? I really like Amazon since it has a pretty decent collection. I use iTunes but will purchase an Amazon.com MP3 over an iTunes one just to avoid the monopoly.

    • Methusalah says:

      @mike: The only site I’m willing to purchase mp3s from is Amazon. I make sure to check their MP3 daily deal every day and I’ve managed to grab several fantastic albums thanks to them.

  35. Walmart is gone from the music download biz. Who’s next? My money is on Rhapsody

  36. dakotad555 says:

    DRM = Bad for the consumer. DRM is not intended for what most think it is. It is not a scheme to prevent piracy. It is an artificial mortality built into digital media that allows the seller to retract use of said media at any time. Piracy will happen no matter how many DRM tracks sell on itunes or elsewhere. Pirates are pirates, and will always find a way to beat any DRM scheme.

    I believe that whole DRM argument is founded on lies that companies want us to believe so that we’ll keep buying them, thinking we are ‘protecting the artist’ or some other bullshit. Reality is that companies really are as greedy and evil enough to make a product that they can cause to expire at any moment.

    That’s why I refuse to buy ANYTHING that comes with DRM. I buy used CDs from Amazon, often times for as little as $1.50 + shipping and rip them into lossless audio files that I can burn infinitely to CDs as many times as I need to. I don’t pirate anything, but if I buy it, it better be mine FOREVER. End of story.

  37. navstar says:

    iTunes Plus or Amazon MP3 — end of story.

  38. Pious_Augustus says:

    Remember the editors can talk here about a person starting to pirate because of what these corps do but if someone else says it here on the comments, they are banned or thats what Roz told someone else what the old mods did and now ;)

  39. VRWC says:

    Out of curiosity, how much of this is Walmart’s failing and how much of it is something that they’re forced to do by agreements with the recording industry?

    Many commenters have made negative statements about the recording industry and then turned right around and blamed Walmart for this.

    Understand that I DO shop at Walmart for groceries and certain other items. It’s not a matter of love for Walmart, it’s simply a matter of convenience and price. Many times they have the lowest prices on national brands — sometimes they don’t, in which case I will purchase items from another retailer with a lower price. That’s the way the free market works, my friends.

    Generally speaking, it’s rather difficult for any retailer to screw up a product that’s not theirs or manufactured on contract to them (e.g. General Mills breakfast cereal) so where one purchases that product can hardly matter, can it? What should matter is price, convenience and any other factors important to the individual consumer.

    Is Walmart customer service lacking at times? Certainly — but the customer service of most other retailers is also lacking these days, as evidenced by many, many posts on this very site — some of which seem to me like childish whining (“Daddy, I want a golden goose NOW!”)… But I digress…

    Does Walmart sell cheap Chinese-made crap? Absolutely, and so does Target and a slew of other retailers that seem to be favored by the liberals among us.

    As in any capitalist society, instead of whining about it, vote with your wallet. Now, I’m sure many of you will come back with a response and say that you DO vote with your wallet, and good for you! That’s the way capitalism works and I applaud you for participating in the system without the need for a 700 billion-dollar stimulus package.

    But caveat emptor — if you don’t like the product, don’t buy it. Spend you money where you want to shop at the retailer that you want to shop at. Eventually the free market will solve your problem for you — if the majority of consumers agree with your viewpoints, then Walmart will go out of business. But since they continue to open stores, I don’t think that the majority of consumers agree with you…

    It seems to me like Consumerist and a few other sycophantic Walmart-haters have an irrational axe to grind with Walmart. Is this some sort of “we-hate-everything-conservative” irrational mental illness? Or is it simply that Walmart is one of the few retailers left that haven’t succumbed to the bullying of labor unions?

    Because, quite honestly, this is an anti-Walmart crusade on behalf of the bullies that want a private company (i.e. Walmart) in which they hold no interest to succumb to their political edicts. If you don’t like Walmart, then don’t shop there — the solution is that simple.

    Where’s the vaunted “tolerance” of which liberals speak so often but practice so rarely? This anti-Walmart mentality seems to be some sort of mania, lending credence to the Michael Savage assertion that liberalism is a mental disorder.

    I vote with MY wallet and refuse to patronize retailers that have implemented obviously-liberal policies, procedures, etc. I recognize that, as owners/stockholders of the company, they’re free to institute whatever idiotic policies that they want, as I am free not to spend my money there. Why can’t leftists put their money where their mouth is and shop somewhere else instead of trying to force Walmart to screw themselves up like every other retailer that succumbed to their demands?

    The end result? The more the leftists bash Walmart, the more I want to shop there — just to piss off a liberal.

  40. armour says:

    All I have to say is its getting even worse outlook for digital sales

    [money.cnn.com]

    The Copyright Royalty Board in Washington, D.C. is expected to rule Thursday on a request by the National Music Publishers’ Association to increase royalty rates paid to its members on songs purchased from online music stores like iTunes. The publishers association wants rates raised from 9 cents to 15 cents a track – a 66% hike.

    iTunes vice president Eddy Cue said Apple might close its download store rather than raise its 99 cents a song price or absorb the higher royalty costs.

    “If the [iTunes music store] was forced to absorb any increase in the … royalty rate, the result would be to significantly increase the likelihood of the store operating at a financial loss – which is no alternative at all,” Cue wrote. “Apple has repeatedly made it clear that it is in this business to make money, and most likely would not continue to operate [the iTunes music store] if it were no longer possible to do so profitably.”

  41. trustsatan says:

    Anyone who’s ever downloaded DRM’ed tracks should be familiar with the process of burning and re-ripping the MP3s. The bitrate the online stores offer is so low that it is impossible to notice any degradation of a second or even third generation of the copy (to my ears, anyways.)

    • armour says:

      @trustsatan: depends on the music you listen to and the complexity of it. Music with a higher wider frequency range if you turn it in to WAV file then compress it igain you will get artifacting (the small pops clicks and squeels) teh lower the bit rate the worse it is because you have less data in the file being converted so there is less sampling points.