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 mp3.walmart.com 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 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.
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?