Wal-Mart wises up, ditches Windows-based DRM

Wal-Mart’s digital music download store is, quite-frankly, awful. That could soon change however with a shift in policy.

Wal-Mart is ditching the DRM it had been using to protect songs sold though its online store and will instead focus on DRM-free music, Wired reports. Because it had been a Windows-based DRM, no songs sold through the store worked on the most popular digital music player, Apple’s iPod, and its music suite software, iTunes. Not only that, according to Wal-Mart’s own site, unless you are using a Windows-based PC with a current operating system and Internet Explorer, you can’t even access the site.

When you are struggling to keep up with the likes of iTunes, AmazonMP3 and soon, MySpace Music (our coverage), making a restrictive site is probably not the best idea. No doubt, that is the reason for the change.

A large downside of this shift to DRM-free music is that Wal-Mart will lose the support of two major record labels, Sony/BMG and Warner Brothers. Wired believes those labels will be back shortly, but correctly wonders why Wal-Mart wouldn’t just wait until they had a deal in place and make a major announcement like MySpace Music did recently.

Wal-Mart could soon be another legitimate player in the digital music war we spoke of last week.

[photo: flickr/code poet


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