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Wal-Mart Ditches DRM, Keeps Censorship

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the step-in-the-right-direction dept.

Music 455

Smiley Face writes "Wal-Mart has hopped on the DRM-free bandwagon with today's announcement that it will be participating in Universal's DRM-free sales pilot. The quality looks good: 256Kbps MP3 for 94 cents apiece, but customers are likely to be turned off by the retail chain's continued censorship. 'It's a bit hard to believe that all the customers who shop at the world's largest retailer want censored versions of music, though, but that's what they get. Only edited versions of albums with parental advisories are available, just as they are in Wal-Mart's offline stores. This isn't a new policy; Wal-Mart's online music store has carried only edited versions for years, but it's worth pointing out to potential new users tempted by the lower prices and lack of DRM.'"

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Worthless store (0, Flamebait)

reidconti (219106) | about 7 years ago | (#20308253)

Never shopped there in my life, never will.

Download once (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308323)

Upload thousands of times.

The way the internet is meant to be.

Re:Worthless store (5, Insightful)

Feanor1 (412553) | about 7 years ago | (#20308367)

I dont like the store either, but this is NOT really censorship.
As a store that is owned by someone(s), managed by someone(s), they have the right to decide what it is that they will and wont sell. Its ashame that our society doesn't care that these are not the true songs that were released, but
1) Walmart has the Marketshare
2) Record Companies want to be in those locations
3) Record Companies bend to walmart.

Its not like they dont have a choice. And obviously its what many people want. If you want to call something worthless, call the Artist that allows their intellectual property (which they have most likely sold to the Label) to be modified from its orig. artistic form, Assuming they arent just out for money as well.

Re:Worthless store (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 7 years ago | (#20308573)

While all your points are valid, they don't counter the fact that it is censorship.

You can go elsewhere and get your music (I certainly do), but if you want to buy your music from Wal Mart, or have no choice in the matter (a small town where Wal Mart has run out the competition, and you don't trust online, for example), then you haven't a choice.

It's censorship only at Wal Mart, but it is still censorship.

Re:Worthless store (1)

Feanor1 (412553) | about 7 years ago | (#20308725)

I understand that you dont have a choice if Walmart has a Monopoly in the 'small town' (something the small town does to itself since they shop there instead of the other stores that are there).

But does that mean that they are censoring Airplanes because Walmart chooses not to sell them and there is no-where else in the small town.

What we are seeing in the 'small town' is the result of putting all your eggs in one basket, not censorship. Walmart is not saying you cant buy those CD's, they are just saying "We wont sell them to you". Just because a company gets as big as walmart, they dont inherit the responsibility of carrying ALL things.

Besides, there are always other options.. Internet, Mail Order, drive 30 miles to the next town.

Re:Worthless store (1, Insightful)

Nos. (179609) | about 7 years ago | (#20308865)

It's not censorship. Censorship can only be done by a controlling body. Typically the government, or other official body. Just because Walmart holds a high market share, doesn't mean that artists choosing to release two versions of a song is censorship. If they truly were a monopoly, that might be something worth discussing, but they are far, far from a monopoly in the music world.

Selected music might be a value to some (1)

klubar (591384) | about 7 years ago | (#20308747)

The fact that the music is selected for clean lyrics might actually be a value to some shoppers. Didn't project your value judgements on what all consumers want. Clearly there are many consumers that buy their music at WM so they must be doing something right. It's really about choice. What they are doing isn't illegal or even anti-competitive. If you don't like their policies don't shop there, if you do like their policies (or prices) spend your money at the store. It's not like they have a monopoly on music (or even inexpensive music.)

Re:Worthless store (1)

d0rp (888607) | about 7 years ago | (#20308537)

Never shopped there in my life, never will.
If you've never shopped there, how can you know its a worthless store? I'm not saying it isn't worthless (or that it is), just curious how you can claim that without experiencing it for yourself.

Re:Worthless store (0, Troll) (1108067) | about 7 years ago | (#20308929)

> >"Never shopped there in my life, never will.
> If you've never shopped there, how can you know its a worthless store? I'm not saying it isn't worthless (or that it is), just curious how you can claim that without experiencing it for yourself.

We're all awaiting your report on how it felt to try doing this [] , as well as your experiences wrt beastiality.

edited only... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308271)

That is the reason I never buy music from wal mart, as much as I may not like the words to some of the songs, the weird noises they replace them with are even worse.

And worse yet, sometimes they edit out things that aren't offensive at all.

Re:edited only... (2, Insightful)

theWrkncacnter (562232) | about 7 years ago | (#20308383)

It's weird what stuff gets edited sometimes. You'd think it'd just be dirty words but a lot of times its some weird phrase of implied violence, like "colt 45" or "can of gas and handful of matches." Sorry but even if you edit out the weapons, I still know someone is getting shot or someone is getting their house burned down.

Re:edited only... (2, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | about 7 years ago | (#20308451)

It's like any other censoring. On TV, people can point their index finger, thumb, pinky, and ring finger. So blurring out the middle finger doesn't hide SHIT.

Re:edited only... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308521)

Your first example is exactly the example I was thinking of when I was posting, from a CD my sister has...

censorship (1)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | about 7 years ago | (#20308283)

so are they bleeping the kid-unfriendly words out like the old days, or have the artists started recording alternate "clean" versions of their songs? I think it was Nickelback that recorded an alternate single with "fucked up" replaced by "messed up" (could be wrong). Not that I care much for Nickelback anyway.

Re:censorship (1)

merreborn (853723) | about 7 years ago | (#20308329)

Watch MTV, or listen to the radio, and you'll have your answer. The exact censorship technique varies by song and artist, long story short.

Re:censorship (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#20308381)

I remember that the "radio edition" of Everlast's "What it's like" was cut by a full verse (the last one). My personal theory is that it was just too embarrassing for the stations to squeak out every other second.

Re:censorship (4, Informative)

croddy (659025) | about 7 years ago | (#20308339)

There are lots of ways of creating clean versions. The policy of recording alternate lyrics goes back at least fifteen years, and all the way back to the 60's if you consider negotiations between labels and artists over controversial lines. Another common solution is reversing and chopping up contested lyrics, which does not leave a hole in the melody line and does not require re-recording the line.

Re:censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308769)

Might explain the pricing.

99 cents at iTunes for the uncensored version. If you buy the edited one from Walmart you get a nickel back.

Dat dang music (-1, Troll)

Pojut (1027544) | about 7 years ago | (#20308289)

Where dey sell thaht, o'er dere bah th' Marlin 39A's? /redneck

(I can't lie though, the Marlin 39A is my favourite .22 of any sort)

Re:Dat dang music (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308511)

(I can't lie though, the Marlin 39A is my favourite .22 of any sort)

And a very fine piece it is. I prefer auto-loaders however, so for me it's the Ruger 10/22.

Is is disclosed? (5, Interesting)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 7 years ago | (#20308307)

Does Wal-mart at least label their CDs in retail stores and disclose in their online store that the songs are edited versions? The politics of it aside, as long as they are upfront about selling edited versions of songs, then I have no problem with it. However, if they are not being honest about selling songs that aren't the "real" ones, then that is plain deceptive.

Re:Is is disclosed? (5, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#20308371)

The ones I saw had an edited sticker. This will get modded down but Wal-Mart isn't censoring anything. They have simply told the music companies that they will not carry albums with parental advisory stickers. The record companies don't have to comply. Wal-Mart isn't censoring anymore than you are if you choose not to watch Fox News.

I do find it a little silly that they worry about "bad" words but sell alcohol, tobacco, and guns.
I find tobacco a lot more offensive and family unfriendly than most bad words.

Re:Is is disclosed? (1)

croddy (659025) | about 7 years ago | (#20308393)

The record companies are indeed complicit in this, and so are the artists. Before you sign your rights and integrity over to a label, you should think long and hard about whether they will be doing something objectionable with your work.

Re:Is is disclosed? (3, Funny)

oyenstikker (536040) | about 7 years ago | (#20308465)

I do find it a little silly that they worry about "bad" words but sell alcohol, tobacco, and guns. Beer is bad? Game hunting with guns is bad? I won't be shopping at your store.

Re:Is is disclosed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308981)

I agree with your point, they aren't censoring anything.

But I see nothing wrong with tobacco, alch, and guns... None of these incite vilonce, they don't even "have" a message, beyond if your over 18 or 21 you can partake and depending on the use of the gun, you can kill things (like, for instance, food).

Re:Is is disclosed? (1)

rob1980 (941751) | about 7 years ago | (#20308527)

I haven't paid enough attention but I don't think they do. That said... the manufacturer is making the changes to the content here, not Wal-Mart. It should be up to the manufacturer to make sure the albums are marked as clean.

Suggested headline: (4, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 7 years ago | (#20308311)

"Wal-Mart ditches some crap, keeps other crap."
From the 'its-crap-anyways' dept.

censorship: US-centric? (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | about 7 years ago | (#20308313)

Does anyone know if Wal-Mart censors the music it sells in Canada? I've never heard of any complaints that they do.

Re:censorship: US-centric? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308437)

I've never seen any censored music outside of the US.

Re:censorship: US-centric? (1)

NosTROLLdamus (979044) | about 7 years ago | (#20308529)

haha oh wow

rights?? censorship?? (5, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | about 7 years ago | (#20308315)

Why is this under "your rights online," and why is the word "censorship" used in the summary? Censorship is when the government infringes on your free speech. If a private organization doesn't want to sell you a particular item, that has nothing to do with the first amendment. Joe's Bar and Grill doesn't offer any CDs for sale -- does that constitute censorship? No, it just means that Joe didn't choose to offer a particular item for sale at the bar. It seems particularly ludicrous to complain about this at a time when there are so many real and horrible civil liberties problems in the U.S., e.g., the attorney general declaring that there is no right to habeas corpus in the constitution.

Re:rights?? censorship?? (1)

nuzak (959558) | about 7 years ago | (#20308433)

> Censorship is when the government infringes on your free speech.

No, it's when any third party does. You have a right to be a censor in your own home, as do most private entities. Wal-mart may have that right, but it is still being a censor, and it's perfectly accurate to call it that.

I'm so sick of the "it's only bad when government does it" argument.

Re:rights?? censorship?? (4, Insightful)

cdrudge (68377) | about 7 years ago | (#20308607)

I'm so sick of the "it's only bad when government does it" argument.
When the government does it, it usually means that you have no other (legal) choice but to accept the censored version. When a non-government entity does it, it's their choice and there is almost always an alternative. Yes it may not be as cheap or convenient, but there is still ways for you to get your censor-free music. It's not "bad" when Wal-Mart does it, it's their choice. Just like it's your choice not to shop there.

get your facts straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308671)

Wal-Mart doesn't censor anything.

The record companies and the artists are doing this in order to sell at Wal-Mart.
In effect it is self-censorship for profit.

One is reminded of a famous painter who painted two versions of a painting for a king, one for public display (clothed) and one for private display (unclothed).

Re:rights?? censorship?? (4, Insightful)

croddy (659025) | about 7 years ago | (#20308441)

Don't confuse censorship in general with the public freedom of speech. Editing the work of another party to remove something you disagree with is still an offense of censorship against the work -- it is just not a violation of constitutional rights. Wal-Mart is unlike your theoretical bar and grill in that it is offering those works for sale and is making objectionable edits to them. It's not a crime, and it's not a violation of civil liberties. It's just wrong and offensive.

Wal-Mart itself does not edit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308861)

"Wal-Mart is unlike your theoretical bar and grill in that it is offering those works for sale and is making objectionable edits to them."

Wal-mart isn't making edits to anything.
It is the record companies and artists who do the editing.

Re:rights?? censorship?? (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 7 years ago | (#20308459)

Village (world), meet boy (slashdot) who cries wolf (censorship) way too often. Think Wal-Mart is doing it out of a genuine interest to promote family friendly music? Hell no. They're just selling the stuff with the highest margins and that don't scare away other customers. Censorship isn't when you grocery store doesn't stack $foo brand frozen yogurt for business reasons. Maybe, if Wal-Mart had a monopoly status on selling music then perhaps you could talk about censorship, but even then it's waaaaaaay of a stretch.

Re:sig (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | about 7 years ago | (#20308849)

I suggest you change your sig to reflect this story

Re:rights?? censorship?? (4, Insightful)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about 7 years ago | (#20308543)

No, censorship is when any person with any kind of authority modifies a work for ethical, moral, or political reasons. Wal-mart has authority over what they sell and the music produces have authority over what they sell, so edited copies of records are censored. Therefore, the music companies and the retailer are in the practice of censorship.

It's just not unconstitutional censorship, or censorship which impinges on your rights. This is not to say that this manner of censorship is any more or less ethical or moral (although they clearly have less authority over us as individuals comapred to the government) nor that we as the affected group should be any more or less outraged by the censorship. It is simply not illegal for the RIAA to produce such tracks and Wal-mart to sell such albums, and, indeed, they have the right to do so.

Re:rights?? censorship?? (1)

Khaed (544779) | about 7 years ago | (#20308875)

Except it doesn't do anything to my rights.

I have a right not to shop at Wal-Mart to buy my music. And I don't. I've avoided them for as long as I can remember when it comes to buying music. Wal-Mart has a right to not sell what they don't want to sell.

The silly part is that they DO sell R-rated movies. I saw Porky's for sale at Wal-Mart, and Slither -- the latter of which has more profanity than most non-rap albums, I'd wager.

Re:rights?? censorship?? (0, Troll)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about 7 years ago | (#20308973)

No, censorship is when any person with any kind of authority modifies a work for ethical, moral, or political reasons.

When any person with any kind of authority modifies the work? Even the artist? Seriously Mr. Clinton, why do you feel you need to redefine words? You're just spouting crap - who modified the work? Maybe the artist wanted two versions, and you can be sure that, whether done in the studio or electronically, they agreed to it somewhere in the fine print.

Censorship != not selling (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | about 7 years ago | (#20308683)

Censorship is when some party actively tries to inhibit you from buying or selling certain intellectual property anywhere based on content.

Wal-Mart may choose to not sell you CDs with certain lyrics, but they're sure not trying to prevent the distribution thereof elsewhere. If they were suing anyone who sold Parental Advisory materials, or lobbying for legislation outlawing it, or kneecapping anyone who bought it elsewhere, yes - but they're not; if Wal-Mart isn't selling what you want, you're free to buy it somewhere that does, and nobody is trying to shut down those places for doing so.

Freedom of the press does not mean you get to control someone else's press.

Re:rights?? censorship?? (5, Insightful)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about 7 years ago | (#20308727)

Censorship is when the government infringes on your free speech.

Bullshit. Censorship is censorship. The government doesn't necessarily have to be involved.

If a private organization doesn't want to sell you a particular item, that has nothing to do with the first amendment.

The first amendment is irrelevant here, and nobody even mentioned it, so I don't know why you brought it up. And just because something is legal, doesn't mean I have to approve of it.

It seems particularly ludicrous to complain about this at a time when there are so many real and horrible civil liberties problems in the U.S., e.g., the attorney general declaring that there is no right to habeas corpus in the constitution.

So in other words, until we get an AG that actually respects the Constitution, we can't complain about all the other petty bullshit that goes on around us? That might take a while.

Re:rights?? censorship?? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 7 years ago | (#20308885)

Actually, as a parent, I like that Walmart does not put everything there. My kids are far too long to be into pop music, but I still do not like the idea of their being exposed at age 10 to a lot of what I hear in rap or hip/hop.

WTF? (1, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | about 7 years ago | (#20308319)

What the frig? WalMart can keep their shouty censored DRM-free mp3s! I'm taking my flippin business elsewhere...

Why should *every* song say "fuck"? (0, Troll)

iamacat (583406) | about 7 years ago | (#20308347)

For me, CDs with swear lyrics are a specialty market that is adequately served by Internet/mail orders and adult stores. I don't see why a store that also sells toys and teen clothes would want to carry "50 cents" in the next isle. The real problem is that WalMart is a monopoly in many communities and there may not be another CD store for quite some distance. Rather than regulating there offerings, we should split up the company to promote competition. Then customers will have a variety of places to shop, "family-friendly" or not.

Re:Why should *every* song say "fuck"? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#20308407)

I don't see why a store that also sells toys and teen clothes would want to carry "50 cents" in the next isle.

Because it makes money, and the customer won't notice that he was ripped off by getting a disc full of squeaks instead of what he wanted before he gets home anyway.

Re:Why should *every* song say "fuck"? (2, Insightful)

reidconti (219106) | about 7 years ago | (#20308411)

CDs with swear lyrics are a specialty market?

No, oddly sanitized versions of 'reality' without obscenity are a specialty market.

Thankfully those who get all hot and bothered by an arbitrarily-judged "offensive" word are a dying breed.

Seeing as how the OP said "fuck" in his title... (2, Insightful)

benhocking (724439) | about 7 years ago | (#20308753)

Thankfully those who get all hot and bothered by an arbitrarily-judged "offensive" word are a dying breed.

Seeing as how he had the word "fuck" in his title, I don't think he was going on about its offensiveness as a word so much as its over-use. I think his complaint was that a lot of fucking people don't seem to fucking realize that it's possible to have a fucking song without fucking swear words.

That said, I'd agree that you're unfortunately right that it's not a specialty market.

Re:Why should *every* song say "fuck"? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308549)

50 cent

Re:Why should *every* song say "fuck"? (1)

Paulrothrock (685079) | about 7 years ago | (#20308613)

Until I moved into the city, I thought that it wasn't so bad that so many hip hop artists, particularly the popular ones, swore so much. Then I heard how the people who lived across the street from me, who immersed themselves in "hip hop culture," spoke. Every other word is the F bomb. They don't even need to be excited or angry to use it. And it's not just the parents, but the children as well. And they all seem to call each other the N word, even though it's about an equal split between caucasian, hispanic and african american.

I don't mind using the word occassionally, but constant use of words like that water down their meaning. And I also don't like how they seem to SCREAM every sentence. Fortunately they're moving soon, and their landlord is converting the building back to single-family houses.

Re:Why should *every* song say "fuck"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308763)

So the leaders at Jesus Camp are letting you post to Slashdot now?

Amazon (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | about 7 years ago | (#20308795)

there may not be another CD store for quite some distance.

Ever hear of They'll sell you pretty much anything in print and ship it to your door in days, usually cheaper than just about anywhere else. If you've got a mailbox, the "there isn't one around here" argument doesn't fly.

Rather than regulating there offerings, we should split up the company to promote competition.

Rather than imposing your whiny will on others, go open a competing store. The whole point of this argument thread is that Wal-Mart doesn't carry that stuff; apparently there is a market for a store-next-door featuring Parental Advisory material.

Re:Why should *every* song say "fuck"? (1)

funkatron (912521) | about 7 years ago | (#20308815)

I don't see why a store that also sells toys and teen clothes would want to carry "50 cents" in the next isle.

Because the only age group that can stand to listen to a full album of 50 cent will also be interested in toys and teen clothing.

"Censorship"? (4, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | about 7 years ago | (#20308351)

How is this censorship? Like any other store, Walmart chooses what they will and will not stock. Regardless of what you personally think of Walmart, they got where they are by making smart (perhaps sometimes ruthless) business decisions. I know this might be hard for some Slashdotters to believe, but what about people who want censored, or a 'radio edit' of a song? Besides, nobody is forcing you to shop at Walmart, and if you want to buy music there then you get what they sell. I don't see how the "censorship" issue is news at all.

Hurrah for dropping DRM though. Be interesting to see how long this will last and if there is any repercussion. One nice thing about Walmart is that it's big enough to just smile give the bird to the RIAA.

Re:"Censorship"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308625)

Censorship, like charity, should begin at home; but, unlike charity, it should end there.
                Clare Booth Luce
                US diplomat, dramatist, journalist, & politician (1903 - 1987)

Apples and Oranges (2, Insightful)

pickyouupatnine (901260) | about 7 years ago | (#20308355)

At issue was weather WalMart would sell DRM-free music. Yes they will. Now what kind of DRM free music users will find is a completely different story - that is for the consumer to decide. Atleast they aren't being conned into buying something and then finding out that there are large imposing restrictions on what they can do with what they've purchased.

Also in Canada? (1)

DarkArctic (894260) | about 7 years ago | (#20308361)

Is the music censored in Canada as well? I can't remember that last time I bought a CD there so I can't say for sure, but I think I have bought CD's with the "Parental Advisory" notice on it.

Re:Also in Canada? (1)

crossmr (957846) | about 7 years ago | (#20308741)

its not censored in the US so using "as well" there makes your sentence confusing.

NOT Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308375)

You want your rap lyrics hard or rock more sexual, buy from somewhere else. These crap edits aren't getting my money.

Wal-Mart isn't telling artists what to sing or fighting for a law to prevent you from saying or buying explicit lyrics, they are merely risking sales (mine, at least) and choosing their values over capitalist greed.

Re:NOT Censorship (1)

oxidiser (1118877) | about 7 years ago | (#20308959)

I would hesitate to say they are choosing values over greed. In fact, I believe greed is most likely the motive for the editing to begin with. They view themselves as a family-friendly store, or at least market themselves that way. I would imagine they assume the number of customers who would stop shopping there is greater than the number of customers they would gain by selling original music edits. I'm sure if they felt they would make more money by selling the unedited versions, they would do so.

Value Add (5, Insightful)

jumperboy (1054800) | about 7 years ago | (#20308377)

The important distinction is that, in this case, censorship adds value for some consumers, while DRM does not.

Just shows Wal-Mart isn't all bad (1, Troll)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 7 years ago | (#20308387)

Considering the type of music that typically has two versions, I can only assume that parts of it being removed can only be an improvement.

Wait a minute, I wonder if that CD of Beethoven Piano Sonatas I bought the other day from Wal-Mart was censored... *then* we would have something to complain about.

Sounds good to me if they are using artists I like (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 7 years ago | (#20308397)

I really don't care if Walmat only carries "clean lyrics" since little music I listen to has any distinction between "clean" or "explicit".

The technical specs look good though, and I think music companies need to see that people will buy DRM free music if it is offered. So, I'll probably try to find a few tracks to buy...

Let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308401)

So the story here is that Wal-Mart is going to start selling a bunch of generic second-rate stuff, cheaply. But if you want anything "real", you won't be able to find it there.

This is news, and in YRO section. Thanks for keeping us informed about these lightning-paced developments, Smiley Face and Zonk.

I'd buy that for a dollar. (4, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 7 years ago | (#20308413)

'It's a bit hard to believe that all the customers who shop at the world's largest retailer want censored versions of music, though, but that's what they get

I doubt all customers want any particular product or service. The more important question is whether or not enough want this product in order for it to be worth offering.

Speaking for myself, I do want this service. The absence of crude songs is completely irrelevant to me because I wouldn't want them anyway. Your mileage may vary, of course.

No need to suspend disbelief (1)

SparkleMotion88 (1013083) | about 7 years ago | (#20308419)

It's a bit hard to believe that all the customers who shop at the world's largest retailer want censored versions of music.
People go into Wal-Mart all the time and buy CDs from "artists" like Ashlee Simpson and Finger 11. After observing this, I have no trouble believing that customers will buy whatever the retailers put on the shelves.

What I don't understand. . . (1)

Blinocac (169086) | about 7 years ago | (#20308439)

They censor the music obviously to appeal to the Christian Right. Yet, they have quit selling all but blackpowder firearms, a move that pisses off the Christian Right. I don't get it.

Re:What I don't understand. . . (2, Insightful)

VelvetHelmet (655533) | about 7 years ago | (#20308649)

Probably because they are trying to maximize their profits rather than trying to please one group or another.

Google found this about the gun sales:,2933,191818,00.html []

If they felt that offering non-edited music would increase profits, they probably would do so.

At least that's what I'd do if I were running WalMart...

Thank you, Wal-Mart! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308445)

I appreciate having a place to buy a "clean" version of a song. I don't care to hear obscenities that add nothing and would prevent me from purchasing an album or track were a "censored" version not available. (Thus Wal-Mart INCREASES the marketplace for music, since there's a broader audience that can get a track/album and those who WANT the "uncensored" version can find it too, just not at Wal-Mart.)

If the artist truly believes his/her art is compromised by such requirements, he/she can choose to NOT sell at Wal-Mart. (Don't tell me about record company contracts that might require such things, since if the artist is TRULY concerned, he/she would never sign a contract with a company that had such requirements.)

So thank you, Wal-Mart!

Cost for Quality? (4, Insightful)

chew8bitsperbyte (533087) | about 7 years ago | (#20308453)

Ok, so Walmart is selling MP3s @ 256kbps for $0.94 and Apple is selling AACs @ 256kbps for $1.30. I like Apple and all, but is the quality of AAC _really_ that much better than MP3 to warrant an extra $0.36? I can barely tell the difference between 160kbps and 256kpbs MP3s, but maybe it's just me... ~B

They are playing the wrong game... (1, Interesting)

HerculesMO (693085) | about 7 years ago | (#20308455)

The future of the music industry is going to be subscription based. You'll have internet access everywhere you go at some point in the near future... in your car, at work, everywhere.

You will pay $10 or $15 a month to play all the music you want.

Last.FM is one of my best bets in this market too... personalized music stations, international hits, etc.. it's going to be a lot of fun to see the next few years. Personally I use Last.FM and Yahoo LaunchCast on a daily basis -- people ask me all the time how I find such neat new music, and I tell them always "It was recommended to me" -- by whom? Ahh.. when they figure that out, say good bye to music sales as we know them.

Very Competitive: Walmart wins 3 of 4 (4, Interesting)

Future Linux-Guru (34181) | about 7 years ago | (#20308467)

MP3 vs AAC
256kbp vs. 256kbp
"censored" vs. "non-censored"
94 cents vs #1.29

For those who care about the "clean" tracks, it's still 3 of 4.

Of course Apple still has the edge with the iPod community, and perhaps ease of use. But no one should be fooled: this is very good for the digital music marketplace.

Re:Very Competitive: Walmart wins 3 of 4 (1)

timster (32400) | about 7 years ago | (#20308767)

I see two points to Apple, one to Walmart, and one tie. AAC is a superior format to MP3, and you have to be digging pretty deep to find a recent device that doesn't support it. It's also just as open as MP3 (and created by the same people).

Re:Very Competitive: Walmart wins 3 of 4 (1)

VP (32928) | about 7 years ago | (#20308787)

That is 2 out of 4 - i.e. tie. AFAIK, at the same bit-rate AAC files sound better than MP3 files.

Doesn't Make Any $%^& Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308473)

I've never understood that Wal-Mart sells other "adult" items: Rated-R and unrated movies, booze, cigarettes, guns, and so on. Yet music with swearing in it is somehow on the verboten list, even for those above age 17. Those are some interesting morals that China-Mart, erm Wal-Mart, has.

It's good because (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308475)

It's good because fucking filthy language breeds contempt for a god damn fucking corrupt system. If I fucking wanted to listen to filth I'd record my fucking self, god dammit !!

Wal-Mart censors. (0, Troll)

WK2 (1072560) | about 7 years ago | (#20308491)

For anyone wondering why a private company would voluntarily censor their merchandise, Wal-Mart does it to satisfy the Christian Rite, and prudes in general. It helps them when they advertise as a "Family Store." There are more people who would prefer that other people are censored than there are who prefer that nobody is censored, and Wal-Mart is indeed catering to the majority.

Customer's cognizence of DRM is growing... (3, Insightful)

ftobin (48814) | about 7 years ago | (#20308513)

The most important change with Wal-Mart offering DRM-free music is that it is clear customers will see music as having one of two different types of labels, WMA vs MP3. Customers tend to know that MP3's can be used technologically unrestricted, but WMA can be restricted; having this choice makes them aware that music can be sold legitimately under MP3's.

Given no direct benefit but only impediments for customers with WMA or DRM, they will attach negative connotations to DRM systems. As long as this negative connotation is implanted long enough, they will come to expect that things should only get better over time, and that WMA and DRM will eventually go away.

In this manner, the societally expected norm will change, and the anti-DRM side will win the war of minds.

Is that true? (1, Troll)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 7 years ago | (#20308523)

Its been years since I have bought a cd at Wal-Mart, but I did manage to get Coal Chamber there unedited(though the Korn CD I bought was edited...bleh). So at least some Wal-Marts sell some unedited songs....

Amazing, they can poison our dogs and children no problem, but if somebody should utter the word "fuck" then Wal-Mart has a hissy fit.

Goddamn mutherfucking walmart! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308567)

listening to fucking profanity in motherfucking songs never fucking did ant goddamned thing to my shit.

Fuck man, I fucking talk like any other motherfucking educated fucker. Shitheads like fucking walmart make fuckers think that fucking listening to profanity makes you start fucking swearing all over the fucking place.

Fuck em' I'm going to exercise my fucking freedom and buy fucking fuck filled fuck songs from some fucking other place.

It is bowlderized, not censored. (4, Informative)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 7 years ago | (#20308631)

The correct word to use is bowlderize, not censored. That word is an eponym named after Thomas Bowlder. []

That dude thought the Holy Bible has sections too racy for children and young people and so he brought out an edited version.

Censorship is when the Govt uses its power to silence an expression. As others have noted, Walmart is not preventing the record companies from selling profanity laden songs in other places.

Re:It is bowlderized, not censored. (1)

dilute (74234) | about 7 years ago | (#20308721)


Re:It is bowlderized, not censored. (1)

hansamurai (907719) | about 7 years ago | (#20308867)

I hate this frakking bowlderization going on in our society.

Wal-Mart Still Requires "Windows" (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20308647)

"We're sorry, your operating system is incompatible. To provide the best download experience, we can no longer support Windows 98, ME or NT. Please visit again after you upgrade to Windows 2000 or XP. Visit our Help section for complete system requirements information."

If they're gonna start selling MP3 files, maybe they should first start by allowing web access to their download store to systems other than Windows.

so wal-mart censors songs (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 7 years ago | (#20308663)

an activist would see a free speech political issue to harp on

an entrepreneur would see a business opportunity

and me, a realist, would see that the entrepreneur has a better chance of changing the world, or walmart's opinion, than the activist does

All I can say is (1)

niceone (992278) | about 7 years ago | (#20308675)

****ing **** ****mart!!

Should I check this is OK with my parents?

Do people really care? (1)

Loosifur (954968) | about 7 years ago | (#20308689)

I mean, I think it's great that Wal-Mart is ditching DRM; I think every music retailer should follow suit. But how many people who buy music online do it from the Wal-Mart website, or would? The content is edited, and people who go to Wal-Mart to shop are gonna go to the brick-and-mortar store for music as well, so there's not a lot of draw there I think. Besides, hasn't Apple started doing some sort of DRM-free iTunes thing?

Anyway, as I understand it DRM removal software is pretty easy to find...

Oblig Simpsons (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 7 years ago | (#20308699)

Moe,"When you say I wanna I wanna put it in you, can you change that to I wanna I wanna hug and kiss you?" Red Hot Chilli Peppers,"Yah, that's even much better than the original."

Censorship as a barrier? (1)

secPM_MS (1081961) | about 7 years ago | (#20308707)

How big a barrier is this censorship to most consumers? Walmart is not the only major store to restrict their merchandise to avoid offending major market sectors. Porn vendors have always prospered selling material that larger vendors choose not to carry. To the extent that artists try to offend cultural mores (or appeal to consumers who want to offend cultural mores), they restrict the venues that will carry their wares - but they may increase the demand, depending upon the balance. I have always gone to specialized vendors for specialized wares. Walmart if not going to provide primers and smokeless powder for reloading, kevlar and graphite fabric and associated resin systems for repair, or multi-system VCR-DVD combo's. They also don't carry much in the way of niche media products that don't offend their guidelines. My last music purchases were a few classical CD's that I bought at a sale and a number of CD's of traditional Eastern European folk music that I bought from a supplier in Eastern Europe for ~ $6/disc.

The interesting question to me is the fact that musical copyright only lasts 50 years in England and much of Europe. Thus, individuals and organizations should be able to put "public domain" music on the web without offending their local laws. Interested individuals in countries where the copyright law period is now much longer should be able to access this, despite these materials being under local copyright. It could be interesting, particularily for somebody like me who is quite happy with very good 50 year old recordings (really good PL's started comming out ~ 50 years ago).

Movies? Bullets? (0, Troll)

chrb (1083577) | about 7 years ago | (#20308733)

Curious, I had no idea WalMart censored media it sells. Do they also censor DVD movies?

And do they still sell bullets? Saw that one in Bowling for Columbine. It would be odd to censor CDs that contain a few swear words, and yet sell lethal projectiles.

Re:Movies? Bullets? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 years ago | (#20308775)

Just because someone likes to hunt doesn't mean they want to hear filth.

Those are totally different things.

No I don't hunt, no I don't mind impolite words.

Re:Movies? Bullets? (1)

dlhm (739554) | about 7 years ago | (#20308785)

I think they still sell kitchen knives in houewares and bricks in the the garden department.. both of with can be deadly if used incorrectly...

Re:Movies? Bullets? (2, Interesting)

chrb (1083577) | about 7 years ago | (#20308819)

I went Googling to try and find the answers, and came up with this:

Sometimes, the lyrics aren't even offensive. On her second album, Sheryl Crow wrote a song about the true case of two children in Florida who bought bullets at a Wal-Mart in 1992 and then killed a man. Wal-Mart refused to sell the album, and Crow was locked out of the world's largest retail store.


It is censorship. (1)

thedohman (932417) | about 7 years ago | (#20308765)

Sometimes I have to give my two cents...

According to Merriam Webster, to censor is: to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable (censor the news); also : to suppress or delete as objectionable (censor out indecent passages)

So, yes, what Walmart does is in fact censorship of the things they sell in their stores, as they "censor out indecent passages." It is just not government enforced censorship.

In 2001, I worked (seasonally) for Sony Disk Manufacturing. I know for an absolute certainty that when new Sony label CD's were released, there was a normal version, and an edited Walmart version, so censrship was done at that time.

That said, my wife does buy CD's from Walmart occasionally. The Gorrilaz' Demon Days that she bought from Walmart DOES contain bad words of the "7 words you can't say on television" variety. This was maybe a year ago. I don't recall if the 'explicit lyrics' label was on the package or not, but it appears that the censorship is not consistent.

For those who don't care if it's censored (like parents of young children who might {gasp} want songs with no bad words for the kids to overhear while riding in the car), Walmart selling non-DRM music is a good thing. Kudos to Walmart.

Hooray for Wal-Mart (1)

JavaJack (1113131) | about 7 years ago | (#20308791)

I'm not sure you should even call this censorship. I'm sure these recordings are available in their original corrupt(ed|ing) version from other outlets. I don't appreciate the way in which pop culture is corrupting our language and making it seem acceptable to use the F-word, et al in everyday speech. Its disappointing to hear such speech coming from the mouths (and fingers) of people that are in other ways decent.

Those who don't have the level of intelligence necessary to use descriptive language and have to resort to meaningless expletives, have questionable intelligence.

If I owned Walmart, I would not feel comfortable offering products that contain offensive language. Better to offer the "censored" versions than not at all I suppose.

As for those who have never shopped there, what do you have against saving money? I would say that those who are not willing to save money also have questionable intelligence.

That's freedom for ya (1)

gatkinso (15975) | about 7 years ago | (#20308829)

Some PRIVATE concern sells what they see fit and people bitch.

Hey of you don't like it buy somewhere else.

While I don't agree with censorship and don't sanction it, I am not too worked up over not being sold music that blares on about "niggers" "'hoes" and "busting a cap in your ass".

Ok, enlighten me.... (1)

Steinar (261746) | about 7 years ago | (#20308843)

Why would anyone censor *music*?

I can understand, though not really approve, movies, pictures and stuff. But why music?

Are they you still censoring books in the ehh, States ehh, of America?

(Please don't say they are censoring heavy metal with 'fuck' or 'shit' in the text...)

And how does it work? Beep? "It was the ever best f*beep* in h*beep*!"

Hey everybody! (4, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | about 7 years ago | (#20308919)

My local Christian book store doesn't sell Hustler! That's Censorship! Those Nazis!

My local adult bookstore doesn't sell the Bible! That's Censorship! Those Nazis!

My local country radio station refuses to play "Tooling for Anus" by The Meatmen! That's Censorship! Those Nazis!

And on and on...

Can we get over this "Store X sells items that are profitable since they're desirable to their target customer" and stop calling it censorship for once and for all? Because a business uses their legal right to choose what they do and do not sell hardly fits into the definition of censorship. On the most technical level, yes. But the word has long overgrown it's Webster dictionary definition in modern society.
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