The next DRM Server’s Shutdown to come
The transition is coming silenty, for Walmart it began in August 2007, when they began selling digital music free of DRM. Prior Walmart has been using the proprietary implementation WMA by Microsoft to protect music from copying. With the open letter by Steve Jobs (February 2007), that dealt with the DRM topic, the music marketing model began to shift from DRM protected music to pure MP3’s. In February 2008 Walmart ceased to offer digital music with DRM in favor of only offering pure MP3’s.
Now the transition seems almost over. Walmart now sent emails informing their DRM customers, that the DRM servers will be shut down soon – thus turning all legally bought WMA audio tracks worthless. Walmart strongly recommends to back up the protected music to normal audio CD’s:
“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.”
The hassle-freeness of Legality?
Like the customers of Microsoft Music, who forced them to have the DRM servers running for the next three years and the customers of Yahoo Music, who will shut down their servers tomorrow, also Walmart’s digital music customers from the earliest days will most likely consider this the end of an argy-bargy story. We can’t imagine they would really feel pleased for having to manually convert all their legally bought audio tracks to tons of audio CDs and having to re-rip them with loss of quality.
Now what exactly was the advantage of buying music legally online vs. illegally downloading vs. buying the CD in the first place? The evolution of digital consciousness has obviously just begun to start in the heads of the music industry’s leaders.