09 January 2004
Walmart's new music download service offers commercial music at $0.88 per WMA file. Supposedly you can play the file on your computer, upload it to a WMA player, or burn it to CD upto 10 times.
Apple's iTunes has sparked my interest in legally downloadable music, but I was hoping to find a service that's actually usable from Linux. I downloaded a test song for free from Walmart's website, and oddly enough, I found I could play it with mplayer and the w32codec package from Christian Marillat's Debian package repository (apt source:
deb http://marillat.free.fr/ unstable main). From mplayer, I dumped the audio to raw wav, then re-encoded it as ogg.
xine is supposed to be able to use these codecs as well. Nice -- Walmart's service may be useful (and affordable). Now I just need to find an affordable portable ogg player.
Update (9 Jan 2004): As ross noted below in the comments on this entry, the test file is not DRMed, so it plays fine, while the ones you actually buy won't work. We should buy songs and take them back then as defective, like people did with the copy-protected CDs. Of course, they do tell you that it's not supposed to work.