Wal-Mart DRM-free Music  (Source: Image Via Wal-Mart)
Wal-Mart joins iTunes in selling DRM-free music tracks from EMI and Universal

Wal-Mart isn’t exactly known to technology lovers as a haven for the latest technology devices. However, Wal-Mart announced that it will begin selling DRM-free music online this week. Wal-Mart has sold digital downloaded music for some time now, but those tunes used DRM.

DRM is almost universally hated by music lovers due to the problems with using tunes legally purchased across multiple digital devices they own. With Apple selling DRM free tunes on the iTunes store and LimeWire also making an announcement intending to sell DRM-free tracks, it seems as though record labels are finally getting the idea.

Wal-Mart music buyers will have the option to buy the tracks in 256Kbps MP3 sans any DRM for 94 cents. The same tune in a DRM laden WMA track at 128Kbps will cost 88 cents.

This pricing scheme undercuts iTunes by a few pennies for similar tracks. iTunes charges $1.29 for 256Kbps AAC-encoded tracks with no DRM and 99 cents for a DRM version of the same song. Whether the price difference is enough to get music lovers to buy tracks from Wal-Mart over iTunes and other online music services is anyone’s guess. Wal-Mart will have an uphill road though as iTunes reportedly commands 70 percent of online music sales.

Wal-Mart will sell DRM-free tunes from Universal and EMI Music. Some notable artists handled by DMI include Coldplay and The Rolling Stones. There seems to be no method of upgrading previously purchased tunes to DRM-free status via the Wal-Mart service, which is one feature that iTunes does offer.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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