Wal-Mart Dropping Support for its DRM Music

I have no idea how many people use the Wal-Mart music download service, or, for that matter, how many used it when Wal-Mart was still selling DRM-protected WMA files.

However, if you are one of those people, you are in for some bad news. Those files will do nothing but take up space on your hard drive this time next week.

That’s right; Wal-Mart has finally decided to shut down its DRM server, which is where those files acquire their licenses. If a license cannot be located for those files, they won’t play. Further, if you have them on your digital media player (iPod, Zune, etc.), they’ll most likely be automatically removed next time you sync.

What can you do to save these files? About the only thing you can do is to burn those files to a CD, then rip them back off of that disc in mp3 format. Be careful; if you rip those files back off of the disc into WMA format, chances are that the files will still have the DRM protection.

There are probably various semi-legal applications out there that allow you to digitally convert the files without the need for blank CDs, but those apps are usually only semi-reliable and often difficult to configure and use properly.

Good luck with it.

More About the Zune

Zune LogoIn my last post, I discussed the latest software and firmware updates for the Microsoft Zune. There are a few things I forgot to mention in that post, and in my initial review of the Microsoft Zune. One of those items was the fact that the player refuses to recognize DRM-protected audio files in your “watched folders”. I also neglected to discuss the options available in the Zune software for converting your audio files before adding them to your Zune. I also failed to mention the fact that the Zune software updates finally added the ability to tag your video files.

DRM Files

For me, the fact that the Zune software would not recognize DRM files was especially annoying, because the only DRM-protected files I had on my computer were ripped directly from CDs that I own.

I did not realize, however, that there was an easy solution to my particular problem. I must have initially ripped the files using the Gigabeat Room software that came with my old Toshiba Gigabeat, as all of the files in question were in WMA format.