As Wal-Mart switches to the MP3 music format and redesigns its music store, it leaves behind Microsoft’s digital rights management technology, which prevented the songs it sold from being played on iPods. The company has also ditched Sony/BMG and Warner Music Group, for now anyway, probably due to licensing squabbles about the terms of the transition to unprotected music.
Digital Music News points out that “Downloads from Sony BMG and Warner Music Group artists are now unavailable at Wal-Mart’s online music store,” but we were able to find 304 Neil Diamond songs (Diamond is featured on the front of Sony/BMG’s website).
Diamond appears to be something of an exception, however. Every other Sony/BMG or Warner Music Group artist we searched for in Wal-Mart’s MP3 store was either unavailable or only represented by a smattering of random compilation tracks.
Most likely, this is a temporary situation that will be resolved byadditional mingling by bean counters at both companies, but one wonderswhether Wal-Mart and its customers would have been better served bywaiting until all of its ducks were in a row and then announcing acomprehensive DRM-free store on the level of Amazon MP3.
As things stand now, you can’t even use all of the features on thesite without resorting to Internet Explorer and the store only workswith Windows despite the fact that MP3s play on Macintosh and Linux machines.