Wal-Mart Going Hardline on DRM-Free Online Music Store; SonyBMG and WMG Holdouts
Wednesday, April 9, 2008; 3:07 AM
Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), whose online music efforts haven't exactly caught fire among consumers, is now trying a hardline stance on MP3 downloads, ditching Windows DRM-laden downloads that it used to sell before. What that means is that songs from Universal Music Group and EMI artists are the only ones available on the online music store, as SonyBMG and Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG) have held their ground on DRM till now. This was first reported by DMN here.
With this move, the retailer is mirroring the MP3-only stance that Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) launched last year, which ultimately resulted in DRM-free licenses from all four major labels, as DMN points out here. Tough to see how this will move the needle for Wal-Mart's online sales, though. It isn't a go-to destination for music, and online music retailing is a lot more than just a pure sales environment...discovery, sharing, and content are a big part.