Will DRM Get Killed Off By Wal-Mart & Pepsi?

Dec 1st, 2007 | By | Category: Digital Music, iPods & Portable Media Players

Wal-MartAfter years of attack from everyone from privacy advocates to consumer rights groups to so-called “freetards”, it looks like DRM’d music may finally get killed off by Wal-Mart & Pepsi.

And it’s not because they care about your rights as a consumer. It’s because they want onto your iPod.

According to an article in Billboard, Warner Music Group (WMG) and Sony BMG Music Entertainment are making plans to follow EMI and Universal Music Group’s lead in distributing music in the MP3 format, under pressure from Pepsi and Wal-Mart.

Pepsi’s MP3 Promotion

Pepsi plans to feature a download promotion on the inside of 5 billion of its soda bottlecaps. Sources say Pepsi customers will need to collect five caps in order to exchange them for a download; this yields the potential for 1 billion redeemable tracks.

In the new Pepsi promotion, sources say, Amazon will serve as the supplier for the downloads, and customers will need to visit a specific redemption store on the Amazon site to access music from participating labels.

If the major labels want to ride on Pepsi’s publicity, they’re going to have to offer MP3s through Amazon.

Wal-Mart Throws Its Weight Around

Meanwhile, the world’s largest retailer can’t get its online music store off the ground because of the limited selection of un-DRM’d MP3’s it can sell.

Because of this, Wal-Mart is reportedly plans to pull WMG and Sony BMG’s music files in the Windows Media Audio format from Walmart.com some time between mid-December and mid-January, if the labels haven’t yet provided the music in MP3 format.

While Wal-Mart has about 22% of the physical CD market, it’s a minor player online.

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