American retail giant Wal-Mart relaunched its online MP3 store Tuesday, and it's a worthy competitor to Amazon in the DRM-free MP3 sweepstakes. (To remind you: unlike many songs from Apple's iTunes, or Microsoft's Zune Marketplace, or Nokia's music store, every song sold on Amazon and Wal-Mart can be played an unlimited number of times on just about any portable device and in any software application out there.)
The new Wal-Mart store includes top hits at only 74 a cents per song, with standard pricing at 94 cents (a nickel cheaper than most), plus a free download of the week (hopefully it won't always be kids' music), plus one free MP3 download for every full physical album that you buy either in the store or on the Web site starting in November.
But no AC/DC. If you're of a certain age and musical predeliction, you probably already know that AC/DC's new album, Black Ice, is available only at Wal-Mart--but not as a download. You might have checked out the new single, "Rock and Roll Train," for its first minute or two. But you probably would never have guessed that Black Ice has just become AC/DC's second album to top the U.S. charts, showing that big old rock bands don't need none of that digital computer stuff anyhow. At least they have a sense of humor about it.