Wal*Mart set to pull plug on music DRM server

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Six months after Wal*Mart jumped into the music download business, joining Amazon, Napster and Apple’s iTunes, back in August 2007, they have decided to make the switch to DRM-free music. That’s great, but what would happen to all of the music that was purchased before the announcement?

Well, the answer is that it won’t be playable, if you plan to move it to another computer. Why? Well, they are planning to switch off the server that allows you to authorise computers to play the music that you bought on October 9th. The good thing is that they will be able to play the music on the computer that was used to purchase the song.

To combat this problem, they are sending emails to those affected and telling you to burn them on CDs to back them up. So, that means you have to waste many CD-Rs just to get your collection away from the DRM. Another solution could be that they allow you to just download the same version of the song without DRM, since the music quality would be degraded if you burn it to a CD (Audio), but I guess they haven’t thought of that.

You can read the letter after the jump. [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

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