Wal*Mart pulling the plug on their music DRM Server

6 months after Wal*Mart jumped onto the music peddling party bus back in August of 2007, they decided to make the switch to 100% DRM-free tracks. Awesome, right?

Unfortunately, any music purchased during that 6-month window before the switch is still at the mercy of Wal*Mart; if they were to pull the plug on the DRM server, the files would become useless on anything but the computer originally used for authorization. In just under two weeks, that’s exactly what will happen.

According to an e-mail sent out to Walmart.com Music customers, the DRM servers are gettin’ the boot come October 9th. Users are being told to burn their music to CDs to back it up. Rather than finding a cheap way to keep the DRM servers online (which should be relatively easy – seeing as DRM songs haven’t been sold in 7 months, both the track and customer lists should be static), they’re pushing the hassle on the customer.

Remarkable solution Wal*Mart. Force customers to waste however many CD-Rs it takes to back up their DRM’ed collection. How many angry customers will there be once they’ve realized they needed to burn the CDs in the old-n-clunky playable audio format, rather than just copying the MP3 files over and burning them as data? If you can’t afford to eat the costs of providing the customers non-DRM’ed copies of the music they’ve already purchased, provide them a tool to strip the files of DRM without all of this CD burning nonsense. The harder you make it, the more people you’ve shown the way to the Pirate Bay.

[Via BoingBoing]

From: Walmart Music Team
Date: Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 7:42 PM
Subject: Important Information About Your Walmart.com Digital Music Purchases
To: xxxxxx@gmail.com

Important Information About Your Digital Music Purchases

We hope you are enjoying the increased music quality/bitrate and the improved usability of Walmart’s MP3 music downloads. We began offering MP3s in August 2007 and have offered only DRM (digital rights management) -free MP3s since February 2008. As the final stage of our transition to a full DRM-free MP3 download store, Walmart will be shutting down our digital rights management system that supports protected songs and albums purchased from our site.

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. This change does not impact songs or albums purchased after Feb 2008, as those are DRM-free.

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.

Thank you for using Walmart.com for music downloads. We are working hard to make our store better than ever and easier to use.

Walmart Music Team