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Wal-Mart hopes to gain market share by losing DRM

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 21 Aug 2007 16:11 User comments (11)

Wal-Mart hopes to gain market share by losing DRM On Tuesday Wal-mart started selling DRM free music downloads on its website.
The world's largest retailer said their new MP3 catalog includes songs from major record labels without any form of DRM that will play on almost any device. That includes iPods and iPhones, and the Microsoft Zune.

Apple's iTunes Plus offers DRM free downloads for $1.29 -- higher than the 99 cent price of its typical downloads.

Wal-Mart said it will still sell its Windows Media Audio-format downloads, which often come with copyright protection limiting where songs can be replayed, for 88 cents per track.

It will be interesting to see how well Universal's DRM free tracks sell in particular because the same songs are only available with DRM from Apple's service. If they sell well enough it could be a sign of stiff competition for the current undisputed leader in commercial music downloads.

Source: Reuters

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11 user comments

121.8.2007 16:35

Quote:
Apple's iTunes Plus offers DRM free downloads for $1.29 -- higher than the 99 cent price of its typical downloads.
So apple is making us pay more so we can utilize our fair use rights. That's nice.

221.8.2007 17:43

I love me some competition! Are the tracks the "exact" same files as on iTunes as far as quality is concerned?

Apple has held this crown for so long, now they are actually going to have to fight to stay on top.

321.8.2007 19:32

Quote:
Quote:
Apple's iTunes Plus offers DRM free downloads for $1.29 -- higher than the 99 cent price of its typical downloads.
So apple is making us pay more so we can utilize our fair use rights. That's nice.
Actually the DRM free songs are encoded at a higher bitrate as well.

Quote:
I love me some competition! Are the tracks the "exact" same files as on iTunes as far as quality is concerned?
I've always felt that the AAC files from iTunes were of a better quality than MP3's. Then again, so are the WMA files, depending on what those are encoded at.

If the DRM-free MP3 files are anything lower than 192kbps quality, they're not worth a nickel and even then, the compression is still lousy and the file takes up too much space on your player.

If you don't believe me, try this: rip a CD of yours and put one track in an AAC file at 128kbps, WMA at 160/192kbps and MP3 at 128kbps and 192kbps and play them in a playlist back-to-back. After doing this in my own car (which supports playback of the aforementioned straight from a Data disc) I could hardly tell the difference in the AAC and WMA files, but the MP3's were clearly missing too much information and did not sound as sharp. As a general rule, I know that the audiophiles will come on and correct me as to how they want a larger bitrate, etc. but to the average Joe, I think that the AAC 128 followed by the WMA 192 offer the better sound for the sake of compression/disk space.

421.8.2007 19:33

*falls off chair*

now this is great news!

I have a feelign tis edited music tho...wally world dose love its mainstream misconstructions...

522.8.2007 4:12

Although mp3 is potentially a lesser format than aac because of how it works i dont agree that all mp3 sound that bad.

I think a large problem with mp3 is theres so many compressors out there and most do a bad job of encoding, where as aac most people are probably going to encode disks using itunes which has a fairly good compressor for aac but the mp3 encoder isnt as good as others out there.

I think it far more important to chose a good compressor then the diffirences between the formats is not that bad.

622.8.2007 4:40

Originally posted by plazma247:
I think it far more important to chose a good compressor then the diffirences between the formats is not that bad.
I can agree with that. I guess I was speaking more about the MP3 compressor in iTunes, which does suck hard.

722.8.2007 4:57

A good solution can be windac and then either using the fraunhofer codecs or a recent build of lame.

Windacs good as its offers:

- Syncronised buffering avoid clipping on bad cds and retry cycles for those CDs which are seriously damaged and bearly play.

- CDDB support as well

and no i dont work for windac its just an old fav there are others.

822.8.2007 6:25

awesome walmart has some dirt cheap mp3s

922.8.2007 11:50

MP3 is the most universal "play anywhere" format. And, its always DRM free!

As the competition picks-up, I predict we will be able to get music in any format of our choice... Maybe even in a lossless format if the record labels will allow it! Once you have a lossless DRM-free file, it's essentially play-anywhere too because you can re-code it to any format without any "extra" quality loss.

1022.8.2007 21:13

@DVDDoug

Agree with you 100% about MP3 being universal. Hell, they have been around for what 10+ years? That is a large reason why all the portable players play it and not many of them play the other formats.

1128.8.2007 4:26

Smart move from walmart.

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