Music Diary Notes: Wal-Mart Exits the MP3 Business!

Music Diary Notes: Wal-Mart Exits the MP3 Business!

It has been an amazing story – Apple burst onto the MP3 store scene when competing MP3 players were in place and markets were already emerging, and yet within a couple of years you would have thought that they invented the entire category. Yet a few years later as Amazon and later Wal-Mart entered the MP3 marketplace, many thought that both retailers’ reputation for low-price sales would mean the end of dominance for Apple. Of course that never happened, and Amazon has desperately struggled for market share, to the point of taking millions of dollars in losses giving away the Lady Gaga album to no long-term effect.

Now today we learn from Digital Music News that Wal-Mart has gone further – they are shuttering (in a virtual sense, of course) their MP3 operation. Here is the information they received:

After eight years in business, the Walmart Music Downloads Store located at will close on August 28, 2011. 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 as well as in Walmart US retail stores will remain unaffected. Walmart Soundcheck ( will remain operational as a live streaming site without any download options.

They also say that the files for older DRM-infected WMA files will still be around for customers, but newer DRM-free MP3 files will disappear at the end of the month.

Personally we got a few songs through Wal-Mart a while back due to a coupon we had from somewhere. And I still remember it being a convoluted hassle unlike any other service I had dealt with. So I won’t mourn the loss of the store.

What about you? Had you ever used Wal-Mart for MP3s? What was your experience like?

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!

3 Comments on "Music Diary Notes: Wal-Mart Exits the MP3 Business!"

  1. I bought a number of songs from Walmart between 2007 and 2009, including some that were in WMA format.

    I lost my confidence in Walmart in 2008 when they said they were going to discontinue support of the WMA files they had sold earlier. They gave customers a whopping 13 days to react. Later, they reversed this decision, but the damage was done as far as I was concerned. (

    The bit WalMart says now about continuing to provide WMA files that were previously purchased is not true. I just logged into my Walmart account to check on this, and every WMA file I purchased is categorized as “discontinued.” I can no longer download any of them.

    Also, the information you provide in this article is something Walmart isn’t sharing with anyone who logs into their website.

    I generally buy from Amazon, even though it can also be a hassle at times. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to re-download Amazon’s MP3 Downloader software. I was told by Amazon customer service rep the download is necessary any time the Amazon cookie in my browser is deleted. You’d think they’d save my login information in the MP3 downloader software rather than relying on a browser cookie to keep up with it…but that would make too much sense…

  2. Interesting stuff – I don’t even remember the songs we bought, but definitely wasn’t impressed. Now that you point out your MusicScribe article I remember that going down and think it was close to the same time as both Microsoft and Sony mucked with THEIR customers … will these folks never learn?

    As for Amazon, on my Mac it just downloads the ‘.amz’ file and then I click that in my downloads folder to start the download. After too many times doing what you mention it just seems easier!

  3. For all of the “Evil Empire” talk, there is a reason that Apple has been so successful: it is easy to use and it just works.

    I can recall a point that Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) made back in the heyday of the VCR, that if you look in most homes in America, you’ll see the flashing 12:00 on the screen. If, as a company, you don’t make things easy to use, the majority of people won’t take the time to learn how to use it. Instead, they’ll go to the store across the street and get something easier to use, whether or not it is “better.”

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