Steve Rubel on Microcontent
The Janitor, by Todd Hopkins and Ray Hilbert

Walmart Offers DRM-free Music

Walmart_2The only website my family has bought music for their MP3 players from is  The service is fast, reliable, it supports our preferred brand of player (Creative) and the prices are rock bottom.  Although Steve Jobs lobbied to abolish DRM earlier this year it's Walmart that's taking the lead and offering thousands of DRM-free songs via their service.  (Maybe Walmart can capture the "other 97%" Jobs was after in that letter.)

Hooray for Walmart.  They just gave me yet another reason to continue buying my music from them.  In fact, Walmart is highly likely to see my family purchasing a lot more music through their service going forward.  Sure, it costs 6 cents more for the DRM-free MP3's (94 cents vs. 88 cents), but it's worth every penny (and then some)!

My only gripe?  Why do they insist on offering more site features to IE users and penalizing us Firefox fans?...


Michael A. Banks

Walmart is the only place I've bought music online, too. I downloaded my first song with a Walmart gift card my daughter gave me for my birthday (just the standard card you can use for anything at Walmart). Now whenever I hear or recall a song I like but hadn't thought about in a while I download it, no need to put in any new info--just click and download! I back them up on CD and listen on my PC.

Odd thing: some of the songs are labeled "Clean." (Several by Donovan and Sprit carry that label.) And some have a tag that says "Explicit Content--Parental Advistory," but there's not a suggestive bump or four-letter word in any of those songs. One so-labled is "Catch Me Now I'm Falling," by the Kinks. I figure some attempt at automating ratings went awry.

Ellen Gerstein

I've been told that if *one* song on any album is rated for explicit content, all the songs will carry that rating, whether they are explicit or not. That little nugget came to me from a 13 year old boy, so I give it great weight.

Michael A. Banks

Thanks, Ellen! That makes sense. I suppose there are a few lines here and there in some Kinks tunes (say, "Lola?") that Walmart might fear someone finding objectionable.

I wonder who listens to all the albums?

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