Wal-Mart Launches DRM Free Music

Major record label EMI has released more DRM-free music.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

This time, it’s with Wal-Mart’s popular online music store. The music will be released at a bitrate of 256 kbps and the price will be 94 cents per track and $9.22 per album.

EMI is quickly racking up a history of casting away DRM (Digital Rights Management). The campaign of DRM-free music started in April this year when the major record label announced that they will start selling DRM-free music with the online retailer iTunes. The move sent shockwaves through those familiar with DRM and its relationship with the major record labels. In essence, it was the first time any major record label actually made a move in this direction. Just one month after this monumental move, EMI then launched DRM free music on Amazon.com. A month later, news came that EMI released more DRM free music with Snocap.

“As we consistently strive to help our customers shop smart at Wal-Mart, our new ‘DRM-free’ MP3 digital tracks give them the ease and flexibility to play music on virtually any device at a great value,” said Kevin Swint, Wal-Mart’s senior director and divisional manager for digital media. “Also, we’re excited to launch our MP3 catalog with major record labels such as Universal and EMI Music that includes music from popular artists like The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, KT Tunstall, Amy Winehouse, Maroon 5, George Strait and Nelly.”

The focus of this move allows customers to transfer and play a music files from Microsoft’s Zune, Apple’s iPod/iPhone as well as allow playback from any software capable of playing an MP3 file. The music will accompany the existing WalMart offer of a DRM encoded WMA (Windows Media Audio) encoded at 128 kbps running at 88 cents per track. While most stores sell at a consistent price, some albums are being sold at as low as $5.88.

The news comes at the heals of Universal’s move to sell DRM free music on a variety of online music stores which also includes Wal-Mart’s online music store.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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