Wal-Mart is moving to DRM-free mp3s for their download store, and they’ve lost Sony BMG and Warner Music Group (WMG) along the way. But nobody really cares.
Why? Partly because no one cares what kind of media Wal-Mart sells online.But also because DRM-free music, basically unheard of two years ago, is now old hat. Amazon doesn’t use it, MySpace Music will be mostly DRM-free, even new EMI exec Douglas Merrill said he’s not a fan.
Oddly enough, Steve Jobs, who wrote an anti-DRM sort-of manifesto in February 2007, is now a bit of an odd man out. His iTunes store still sells DRM-wrapped music from three of the big four music labels. Yet it hasn’t stopped him from becoming the biggest music retailer in the U.S.
Which is the real reason why Wal-Mart’s move isn’t a big deal: Consumers don’t know or care about DRM — if they do buy music online, they buy it from Apple. End of story.
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