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

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