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Wal-Mart Starts DRM-Free Downloads; Universal, EMI MP3s For 94 Cents

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Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) keeps trying to solve the digital download conundrum … The latest effort: $0.94 DRM-free, 256-kbps MP3 downloads from Universal and EMI with albums priced at $9.22 — considerably lower than Apple’s iTunes Plus $1.29 per track. Wal-Mart is playing up the compatibility across players since MP3 can be played on even proprietary players like iPod and Zune. The new catalog includes “hundreds of thousands” of songs and albums” and will be “continually expanded” with major label and indie content.

— Wal-Mart will continue to sell 128 kbps WMA-format downloads at $0.88.

— As a promo, Wal-Mart is selling some albums in MP3 for $7.99.

— In another sign that Wal-Mart is trying to appeal across formats, the download store is still optimized for IE but has a note saying a Firefox upgrade is in the works.

FT: Wal-Mart

2 Responses to “Wal-Mart Starts DRM-Free Downloads; Universal, EMI MP3s For 94 Cents”

  1. Otis E Cregger Jr

    Your constant changing of how to purchase single MP3 downloads has slowed my purchase level. Every time I turn around, everything is different, impeding me from purchasing the music that I want at a whim. I do not need to relearn a new program every six months or so. If you want to sell me, instead of focus on building your employee's resumes, you'll pay attention to a large number of customers that are visually impaired and who find this constant change very, very irritating.

    I don't need the music anyway. Goodbye.

  2. Really sad that Apple won't license FairPlay and won't integrate Windows Media Rights Manager into their devices. The only reason these types of non-DRM offers are being put out is to compete with iTunes. The numbers so far from EMI's iTunes offering are abyssmal to say the least.

    Christopher Levy
    [email protected]