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Walmart Killing Off MP3 Download Service

For those who previously purchased and downloaded music from Walmart's online MP3 shop, America's superstore is now sending out notices that the service will close as of August 29, 2011 after serving up digital music for eight years.

"You will still be able to enjoy the digital music you purchased and downloaded from Walmart.com," the company says in an email to customers. "Your complete purchase history and the ability to authorize/deauthorize any DRM-protected WMA files you may have purchased is currently available until August 29 at http://mp3.walmart.com and, after we close the service, will be available again beginning September 12. Any MP3 files you purchased from Walmart can be moved to multiple new computers, as usual."

Walmart launched its digital music service as an iTunes killer, initially offering 88-cent WMA files but eventually converted over to DRM-free MP3s in late 2008 to better compete with Apple's DRM-free move. Rather than offer a full-blown client, Walmart provided a simple downloader program similar to Amazon's purchase-and-download process. Yet despite Walmart's low prices, the iTunes integration into Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch may have helped thwart Walmart's plans to become the #1 digital music distributor. Amazon's own MP3 selection with free cloud storage probably also helped drive the stake deeper into Walmart's digital music heart.

Digital Music News reports that Walmart is blaming weak consumer demand and price insensitivity for the closing. The company reportedly sent along a certified letter to distributors and licensing partners explaining the closure:

"After eight years in business, the Walmart Music Downloads Store located at mp3.walmart.com will close on August 28, 2011," reads the letter. "All content in the Store will be disabled and no longer available for download from the store. The sale of physical record music products on Walmart.com as well as in Walmart US retail stores will remain unaffected. Walmart Soundcheck (soundcheck.walmart.com) will remain operational as a live streaming site without any download options."

A Walmart representative verified that older, protected files will still be supported. "We’ve made a business decision to no longer offer MP3 digital tracks as of August 29, 2011," the executive confirmed. "We'll continue to provide support to our customers who previously purchased digital music through Walmart Music Downloads so they may continue to enjoy and manage their existing WMA files."

Amazon, iTunes: nothing to see here. Resume dominating the market as usual. Move along.

  • Soma42
    Not that I shop regularly at Walmart, but I still had no idea they even offered downloads...

    Bad marketing maybe?
    Reply
  • offerings12
    great service that was overlooked.. I used it all the time because you could get the cheapest prices from their download servers. some songs were $0.55 . too bad...
    Reply
  • figgus
    Soma42Not that I shop regularly at Walmart, but I still had no idea they even offered downloads... Bad marketing maybe?
    Pretty much this. I wonder how much of their customers even knew it was an option?
    Reply
  • wait.... Walmart offered music Services???
    Reply
  • memadmax
    Never heard of this either.

    Must've been a pet project that wally world didn't really want....
    Reply
  • MxM
    offerings12great service that was overlooked.. I used it all the time because you could get the cheapest prices from their download servers. some songs were $0.55 . too bad...Well, that's because they were trying to get more dominating position. If they were to succeed, I am more or less sure that they would have the same prices (or just a bit lower) as iTunes.
    Reply
  • bildo123
    figgusPretty much this. I wonder how much of their customers even knew it was an option?

    In the 8 years it's been around I never even knew it existed until now. I don't exactly live under a rock either but jeez.
    Reply
  • I remember seeing it when it first came out, but like most of you, I had no idea they still offered it, and I browse their website fairly often.
    Reply
  • Who wants to pay more than 50¢ per song anyways? Most CD's are like $7 or less anymore anyways. Lemme guess, you all also didnt know that walmart has a streaming video service also? Its called VUDU. Its also a bit overpriced compared to redbox
    Reply
  • Yup used to use Walmart music because it was the cheapest and you can download the music to your HDD. What kind of music you buy today? Crap, thats what.
    Also you can listen to just about any song for free now a days.
    Reply