In September the retailer announced that it would be closing down its DRM servers on October 9, a decision that would leave customers with DRM tracks on their computers unable to access the music they had purchased from the store. But after what Wal-Mart called "customer feedback" the store changed courses, sending an email to customers informing them that they wouldn't be pulling the plug just yet.
"Based on feedback from our customers, we have decided to maintain our digital rights management (DRM) servers for the present time," reads the e-mail sent to customers, reports engadget.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."
Wal-Mart began the transition to a fully DRM-free online music store earlier this year. The move to take the DRM servers offline seemed to indicate that Wal-Mart was showing even more contempt for its customers than in the past.
Taking the servers offline would mean that customers who had purchased music from the store would be unable to transfer the music to another computer or even play the songs purchased once the servers were scuttled. Burning DRM protected music to a data CD isn't even an option. Instead, the only way the files would play would have been on an uncompressed audio CD -- not exactly the sort of limitations a store should be putting on a customer's property.
This latest email, however, at least shows that the retailer will listen to its customers if the uproar is loud enough.
It has been widely reported that the impetus for shutting down the servers was Wal-Mart's need to keep costs low, and maintaining the aging DRM servers wasn't part of that plan.
Still no word from Wal-Mart on when exactly those servers will be shut down, however. That still means customers who don't back up their purchased music could still wake up one morning to find that their music won't play.
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