iTunes Challengers Wal-Mart, MTV, Rhapsody Line Up for Large-Scale Assault

August 21, 2007 7:08 PM ET

Last week Don Henley told Rock Daily that the forthcoming Eagles album would be sold solely via Wal-Mart stores for its first year after release. Now comes news that Wal-Mart will begin selling DRM-free MP3s (which can be copied and listened to on many kinds of players). Wal-Mart's songs will also be cheaper than iTunes copy-restriction-free tracks: iTunes charges $1.29 per DRM-free song, but Wal-Mart will sell its tunes for 94 cents per track -- which is even better than iTunes' 99 cent price for regular, copy-restricted tracks.

Also today, MTV's digital vendor Urge, RealNetworks (which runs subscription service Rhapsody and -- full disclosure -- does business with RollingStone.com) and Verizon announced they're partnering to form music service Rhapsody America. The service will be selling Universal's DRM-free tracks, and current users of Urge will be able to start using Rhapsody immediately.

In other DRM-free news: in the the U.K., listeners will have the first chance to snatch up DRM-free Rolling Stones albums. According to reports, twenty-four of the band's records on EMI will become available via London's 7digital service at a reduced rate of approximately $11 for the first month before reverting to their regular rate of $16.

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Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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