Wal-Mart Reaffirms Commitment to MP3s; Standoff Continues

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Wal-Mart recently reaffirmed its commitment to an MP3-only download store, with or without the participation of Warner Music Group and Sony BMG.

On Friday, Digital Music News discovered that tracks from Warner and Sony BMG were unavailable on Wal-Mart Music Downloads, the result of a licensing impasse related to DRM-free content.

The majors declined comment on the matter, though Wal-Mart used the opportunity to reaffirm its DRM-free agenda.  “We’ll continue to work with our music partners to further grow our MP3 selection, however, we don’t publicly share details of our ongoing discussions with these partners,” a Wal-Mart representative disclosed.

The rest involves a simple process of filling in the blanks.  Sources noted that Wal-Mart is now mirroring the hardline, MP3-only stance assumed by Amazon last year, one that ultimately resulted in DRM-free licenses from all four major labels.  In August, majors EMI and Universal Music licensed their catalogs DRM-free to Wal-Mart, though insiders continue to point to onerous requirements from both Warner and Sony BMG.