The music industry is struggling to gain a foot-hold in the battle with online piracy. The options available for music lovers to grow their music collection digitally is tremendous and free. So much so that music companies and publishers have struck up agreements with some of biggest names offering digital music: iTunes, Last.FM., Amazon, Myspace, and Wal-Mart.
While the options are appreciated, a certain restriction that comes with the music files is not. To help music labels combat piracy, digital music providers such as iTunes and Yahoo introduced DRM restricted music files to consumers. Today, Wal-Mart has given consumers the number 1 reason as to why DRM was the worst thing ever.
Customers of Wal-Mart's digital music service will be in for a big shock very soon, just as Yahoo Music customers were. Wal-Mart has announced that they will shut down their DRM servers on October 9th. What does this mean for Wal-Mart digital music buyers?
If you have purchased protected WMA music files from our site prior to Feb 2008, we strongly recommend that you back up your songs by burning them to a recordable audio CD. By backing up your songs, you will be able to access them from any personal computer.
Beginning October 9, we will no longer be able to assist with digital rights management issues for protected WMA files purchased from Walmart.com. If you do not back up your files before this date, you will no longer be able to transfer your songs to other computers or access your songs after changing or reinstalling your operating system or in the event of a system crash. Your music and video collections will still play on the originally authorized computer.
DRM restrictions ties all of your songs to your computer. To sum things up, customers will now have to back-up all of their downloads or risk losing them all. Because of the DRM restrictions on these files, you won't be able to transfer their music anywhere else. If you were to reinstall your operating system or simply purchase a new computer, Wal-Mart's shutdown of their DRM server would prevent you from taking your music somewhere else.
Talk About a Waste of Money
We're hoping Wal-Mart will do the right thing and refund customers a portion of the money spent, as Yahoo did when Yahoo Music shutdown. While the gaming community has been able to teach gaming publishers a lesson about DRM, we don't think anyone can provide a solution for the situation that Wal-Mart customers are going through.Will DRM-free music matter to consumers now?