Walmart has backtracked on its decision to shut down the DRM servers authenticating music tracks purchased from its MP3 Downloads store. In a message sent to service users, Walmart cites "feedback from our customers" as the motivation for the turnaround, having announced last month that it would take the systems offline as it transitioned to DRM-free MP3s.
Customers are still advised to circumnavigate the DRM by make CD backups of the tracks and then re-rip them as unprotected files. There's no word on how long Walmart will maintain the servers beyond "the present time".
Yahoo! Music caused similar controversy at the end of July 2008, when they announced they would be shutting down the DRM servers used in their online store. Coupons for downloading the equivalent DRM-free MP3 tracks were issued to pacify customers.
NOTE: This is a follow-up to our email titled "Important Information About Your Digital Music Purchases" from 9/26/08.
Based on feedback from our customers, we have decided to maintain our digital rights management (DRM) servers for the present time. What this means to you is that our existing service continues and there is no action required on your part. Our customer service team will continue to assist with DRM issues for protected windows media audio (WMA) files purchased from Walmart.com.
While our customer support team is available to assist you with any issues, we continue to recommend that you back up your songs by burning them to a recordable audio CD. By backing up your songs, you insure access to them from any personal computer at any time in the future.
We appreciate your support and patience as we work to provide the best service possible to you. As we move forward with our 100% MP3 store, we'll continue to update you with key decisions regarding our service and your account via email.
Thank you for using Walmart MP3 Music Downloads.
The Walmart Digital Music Team