Walmart.com's music download store went DRM free in February of 2008; and now the retail giant is telling customers that they'll no longer support the DRM laden downloads that they sold them prior to the transition.
According to an email sent to customers, on October 9th the company will shut its servers that "that supports protected songs and albums purchased from our site". Unless you back up your files by burning them to CD, you will "no longer be able to transfer your songs to other computers or access your songs after changing or reinstalling your operating system or in the event of a system crash". (Full text of the email after the jump.)
iTunes offered an paid upgrade to mp3's after it made the DRM-free transition and still supports the tracks it sold with DRM. Other download services like Napster and Rhapsody were forced to extend their transitions after complaints from consumers.
Full text of Walmart.com's email:
Date: Fri, Sep 26, 2008
Subject: Important Information About Your Walmart.com Digital Music Purchases
Important Information About Your Digital Music Purchases
We hope you are enjoying the increased music quality/bitrate and the improved usability of Walmart's MP3 music downloads. We began offering MP3s in August 2007 and have offered only DRM (digital rights management) -free MP3s since February 2008. As the final stage of our transition to a full DRM-free MP3 download store, Walmart will be shutting down our digital rights management system that supports protected songs and albums purchased from our site.
If you have purchased protected WMA music files from our site prior to Feb 2008, we strongly recommend that you back up your songs by burning them to a recordable audio CD. By backing up your songs, you will be able to access them from any personal computer. This change does not impact songs or albums purchased after Feb 2008, as those are DRM-free.
Beginning October 9, we will no longer be able to assist with digital rights management issues for protected WMA files purchased from Walmart.com. If you do not back up your files before this date, you will no longer be able to transfer your songs to other computers or access your songs after changing or reinstalling your operating system or in the event of a system crash. Your music and video collections will still play on the originally authorized computer.
Thank you for using Walmart.com for music downloads. We are working hard to make our store better than ever and easier to use.
Walmart Music Team