Wal-Mart debuts low-priced DRM-free tunes

Wal-Mart's music download site joins iTunes and others today and now sells digital music downloads with no anticopying software. Wal-Mart DRM-free tracks will be from Universal and EMI Music. Prices start at 94 cents per track and US$9.22 per album. That's roughly 27 percent cheaper than Apple sells its EMI DRM-Free songs for. A single DRM-free EMI track from iTunes runs $1.29 via iTunes Plus.

DRM (digital rights management) software prevents owners from copying or freely using a digital file across multiple devices. Wal-Mart's DRM-free tracks will also be encoded at a higher sound quality than generally available previously on Wal-Mart. Those with keen ears argue tracks encoded at a higher sound quality sound better.

Wal-Mart shoppers have the option to purchase either a 256kbps MP3-encoded DRM-free song for 94 cents, or the usual 128kbps WMA-encoded DRM-version for 88 cents. ITunes charges $1.29 for 256kbps AAC-encoded DRM-free song and 99 cents for a 128kbps AAC-encoded DRM-version of a song.

EMI artists include Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, Norah Jones, Frank Sinatra, Joss Stone, Pink Floyd, and John Coltrane. Still, no Beatles yet.

I scoured Wal-Mart hunting for DRM-free tracks and like the way the online store makes it easy to spot DRM-free tracks when they are available. Wal-Mart simply labels tracks in search results as either WMA or MP3. By contrast Apple's iTunes makes you set your search preferences to display iTunes Plus content alongside normal search results.

One thing that I was not able to spot on Wal-Mart's online music store is a feature that allows you to upgrade previously downloaded songs to DRM-free status. ITunes charges 30 cents for each song already downloaded or about $3.00 for most albums that you want to update to DRM status.

It also should be noted that stores like eMusic have been offering DRM-free music for years. The selection is limited, however, to recordings by indie labels.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Spring

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?