Monday, October 13, 2008

Wal-Mart joins MSN and Yahoo, leaves DRM servers online

When I first heard that you could download music off of Wal-Mart’s website I was a bit surprised. I figured that Wal-Mart was just in the business of selling CD’s, but I guess with the boom of iTunes, Wal-Mart wanted to make a little more money. When I was browsing around Wal-Marts music store I found out that their music per song costs 94 cents and it downloads to an MP3 format. It also notes that certain songs are able to play on the iPod.

In the article written by Jacqui Cheng Wal-Mart reportedly announced that they were going to turn off their servers and discontinue their service. With the growth of iTunes and other online music providers Wal-Mart has not been able to turn out a profit. After listening to customer complaints Wal-Mart now plans to “keep the DRM servers online a bit longer, allowing people to continue transferring their purchased music to other computers as usual.” Wal-Mart did not indicate, however, that the servers would remain online forever, and it continued to advise customers to burn their music to CDs.

Both Yahoo and MSN music have also gone in the same direction as Wal-Mart. Both companies were ready close their service, but later decided to stay open after listening to customer complaints. Through the process these three companies have shown that they actually do have a heart when it comes to customer service. When they could have left their customers behind and went on to “greener pastures,” they stuck with their loyal fans to keep providing them with the latest music.

If Yahoo, MSN, and Wal-Mart decide to shut down their servers then all of the music that the customers had purchased would no longer play on their computers. That is why Wal-Mart is recommending everyone who has purchased their music to burn it to CD’s. You may have to pay for a blank CD but at least you would not lose all of your music.

Currently I use two music services: iTunes and Rhapsody. When downloading music from Rhapsody it automatically directs you to burn your music onto a blank CD. With iTunes, I will have to take time to burn all of my music onto CD’s so that I will not lose all of my music.

I am glad these music services are allotting more time for their customers to copy all of their music. It can be very frustrating once you have grown accustomed to a particular music provider and suddenly they have discontinued their services. If the providers had discontinued their service it may lead to piracy.

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