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

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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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