Walmart Hates DRM

Ars Technica says that Walmart has given an ultimatum to “some of the largest record labels, including Warner Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment, to provide more of their respective music catalogs in MP3 format (that is, without DRM) next year.”

Walmart’s online music store ditched DRM back in August, and one assumes that strategy has been more successful than their old Microsoft “PlaysForSure” store that sold music that wouldn’t work on an iPod or even a Zune.

Go, free market, go!

Amazon and Wal-Mart unwittingly team up against DRM
[Ars Technica via BoingBoing]
(Photo:Ms. Jessica)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Trai_Dep says:

    Wow. Is this equivalent to when the neighborhood child molester dives into your flaming home and rescues your kids?

  2. nickripley says:

    @trai_dep: The child molester won’t sue them afterward, or ask for their receipt.

  3. nushmut says:

    Walmart seems to hate DRM, and it looks like they also aren’t big on Macs. I just tried to shop their MP3 catalog, and was denied entry for not having Windows XP or Vista.

    On the other hand, Amazon’s album downloader runs on both Windows and Mac systems, and any OS (Linux variants included) can download individual songs.

    I applaud Walmart’s current stance on DRM, but they won’t be getting any business from me now, because they don’t care enough to make a platform-agnostic interface. It wouldn’t be too difficult to start doing either. They could allow singles to be downloaded the way Amazon does and even make that the way to download tracks for full album purchases as well. I’m willing to give them money if they have some competitive prices, yet I can’t do that. And that’s why I’ll be sticking with Amazon MP3 and iTunes Plus for my DRM-free digital music.

    Walmart: Swinging for the fences, they could only muster a single.

  4. dohtem says:

    @trai_dep: Dude, I don’t know how you came up with that analogy but I like it!

  5. valthun says:

    The sad part is, companies sit when Walmart tells them too. Regardless how much we might hate Walmart they sell enough product to make the manufactures play ball with them.

  6. dasunst3r says:

    I wonder how offering non-DRMed formats have affected sales of music for Amazon and iTunes.

  7. novelgirl says:

    Did Wal-Mart do something I approve of?! I’m scared. Still won’t shop there, but this might be a big blow to DRM.

  8. Trick says:

    So wait Wal*Mart good? Is that was The Consume Sheep are supposed to go with today?

    Tell us, hurry, we don’t know what to do!

  9. badgeman46 says:

    People! Its called a CD, or a Compact Disc! It has way better quality than an MP3, because there is no compression! You can play them in your car, or on your stereo! Even in your PC!!! And guess what?! They’ve been around for over 20 years!

  10. Valhawk says:

    Huzzah for bigbox playing hardball with RIAA and friends, now we might see some movement.

  11. Trai_Dep says:

    @Trick: Even a broken clock is correct twice a day.

  12. GTB says:

    I refuse to cheer for wal*mart. I refuse, damn you!

  13. KJones says:


    Normally, a CD would be the workaround, but companies are still making CDs that won’t play on computer CD-R drives.

    My computer is my stereo, and it annoys me no end to buy something and find out that I can’t play it, regardless of whether I am ripping MP3s or not.

  14. z1rdarryl says:

    If anyone can kill DRM its Walmart.

  15. Beerad says:

    @badgeman46: Yeah, it’s really awesome to drive cross country or take an overseas flight carrying a suitcase full of my entire music library on CD for easy access and listening pleasure. I’m so glad nobody ever invented a cheap way to organize and tote around lots of music in a highly portable format.

  16. badgeman46 says:

    @Beerad: They did! Its called a minidisc player. I have one. Its too bad no one in America seems to have discovered them, but its recordable, with huge quality, and the discs are about two inches square. No compression loss, full dynamic sound. Pure bliss!

  17. Benstein says:

    People justly hate Walmart but only Walmart is big enough to tell these companies to not use DRM – and they will do it.

  18. z3k3 says:

    @trai_dep: If Walmart was a gov’t program, you’d be praising it for being a great welfare program. Like it or not, their low price pressure allows expendable income to flow to others niche businesses. They do more good than you sitting on yer ass posting comments to a message board.