Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Walmart Has Non-DRM mp3 Downloads

Even though my family has at least four personal media players (Cowon iAudio X5's and F2's), we have been stuck with buying CD's and ripping them into files (mostly OGG Vorbis format) for the players. The reason: I could not find any legal music download sites with a decent selection of music that supports linux. There was the now-defunct and questionably legal allofmp3.com site that would work in just about any system/browser and supported many formats (mp3, ogg, flac). There were also some mostly indie sites that did not have much selection... especially when it comes to Christian music, but I could not find anything legal with both a good selection of titles and the ability to download and play the music in both linux and on media players.

Walmart has had a music download site for a while, and it was in the same boat with the other sites I had found. They had a good selection, but it only supported Windows with DRM (Digital Rights Management) encumbered media files. This week I learned that they are now offering non-DRM mp3 downloads that will play on just about any music player and linux (if you load mp3 support in it)! When I first heard about it I immediately went to walmart.com and tried to browse to the music downloads, but I was disappointed to see a message saying I needed Windows to continue. A bit later, though, I found a link that got me in to where I could actually browse, purchase and download music in mp3 format. Yay!!! They don't have their entire selection available in mp3 format yet, but it looks like a good start and I hope they will continue to add more. Now if they would only support Ogg Vorbis!

BTW: I run RockBox on my X5.