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Wal-Mart testing web music service

By Julio Franco
Dec 20, 2003
  1. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. launched a bare-bones Web site Thursday to test its new 88-cents-per-song online music service, hoping that its cheaper price will lure listeners from more expensive competitors. Other sites, such as Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Music Store, charge 99 cents per song.

    Wal-Mart said its site has "hundreds of thousands" of songs, available in Windows Media Audio format, which can be transferred to compatible portable devices, burned to a CD or played on Windows PCs.

    Read more: Yahoo News.
     
  2. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,244

    I heard a while back that Wal*Mart was going to do this, and thought then that it was probably a pretty good idea. Now it looks like it may be even better than I thought. Seeing the gripes of others concerning iTunes, and knowing that most devices already support WMA, this sounds like it should be a pretty good offering for music fans. I have to agree with the article though and only see this being a "moderate success" .
     
  3. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    I think what Wal-Mart has going for them is that they can get away with charging so little for certain things and still make money. Their online music store is going to be just the same, and they are hoping that people will buy other things while they are downloading music.
    Just another way Wal-Mart is trying to take over the world :)
     
  4. agrav8r

    agrav8r TS Rookie Posts: 103

    This is walmarts normal mode of takeover. they come in cheaper than the competetion, even if it means a short term loss, in order to drive them out of that sector. my only concern is that walmart limits certian ratings of music, nad by forcing other online services out of business, would essencially end up with a form of censorship for those that want to purchase music online or song by song only- Or the industry would be forced to sell walversions of music that would be acceptable to the walords.
     
  5. Masque

    Masque TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,058

    I just don't know if I'm ready for a Wal-Mart music industry.....that's exactly what it could become if legal. I agree with agrav8r on Wal-Mart's strategy......fortunately, it doesn't always work....there's others who compete with them successfully.
     
  6. werty316

    werty316 TS Rookie Posts: 185

    We get one of these in my small city in Canada soon!:eek:
     
  7. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    If they infact are selling only their edited versions of cds then infact that very thing will keep them from taking over. iTunes and other such merchants offer the explict versions of songs - if I'm going to buy a song online its worth the 11 cents to get one thats the real artist intended version, rather than some version made so some 10 year old can hear it on the radio without the station getting calls from angry soccer moms.
     
  8. agrav8r

    agrav8r TS Rookie Posts: 103

    Keep in mind that I am assuming that they will continue to do the same thing as they do in the stores. I don't use either services and thus am only speculating. Sorry but i did not want that to be taken as fact and felt i should elaborate.
     
  9. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    Soon WMA will stand for "Wal-Mart Audio" :giddy:

    iTunes has a 25 million song lead on Wal-Mart, a lead I don't think will be so easily threatened. iTunes offers so much more than anything Wal-Mart could put out anyway, as a media player mainly. iTunes has been on the Mac platform an awful long time now, and has grown to be a very good program, on both platforms. I think people will stick with iTunes if only for convenience's sake. And what a boon to the industry "convenience" has become :rolleyes:

    Of course, the moment I would be able to walk into a Wal-Mart and download a song to my iPod for $.88 is the moment I'll start believing in Wal-Mart.
     
  10. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,244

    I wouldn't rule that possibility out. A few years ago WalMart.com started offering digital photo developing online(you send the images and they send you photos) a short time later, the Photo Center in WalMart stores got the additional ability to print photos from media stored on flash memory cards and other media types.
     
  11. BrownPaper

    BrownPaper TS Rookie Posts: 407

    no wonder Sam Walton (the owner of Walmart) is 2nd behind Bill Gates as the financially richest man in America. those guys both know how to make it hard on the competition. no mercy is their strategy.

    hahaha. well not if Microsoft has something to say about that! ;)
     
  12. Qun Mang

    Qun Mang TS Rookie

    Isn't Sam Walton dead? His business tactics made Bill Gates look almost honest in comparison. Almost. Anyway, if Walmart is still underselling in this manner( temporarily selling below cost to drive out competition), then Walton's legacy unfortunately still lives on. Sigh.
     
  13. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    Yeh, if Wal-Mart really wanted to push this they would develop their own crude OS made explicitly (some form of linux would work - keeping them from needing to lisence Apple or Windows technology) and allow transfer of songs purchased at their stores to be placed on an iPod or any of the other flavors built by Dell and Gateway and such. I don't see Wal-Mart's service winning on just price alone - espically if they only have radio edit versions.
     
  14. agrav8r

    agrav8r TS Rookie Posts: 103

    Wouldn't they support a Lindows based music app. If I am not mistaken they were selling Linux based system for 300 or so not too long ago.If Lindows is to go main stream , they will need to use Walmarts platform to add special incentives, such as free song downloads and program upgrades, to beat MS at it's own game.
     
  15. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    It wouldn't take that much effort by some linux gurus though to develop their own version, if you start using Lindows then the makers of Lindows are going to want some of the revenues. Just cut out the middle man and take all the profits yourself.
     
  16. chuonthis

    chuonthis TS Rookie Posts: 38

    Nope, it seems that Walmart's online music offering is actually just like the store's. From the article: Lin said the site will abide by the same content format as CD racks in Wal-Mart stores, which don't sell music the company deems offensive. And from browsing the site, it seems like all of their albums are the edited versions. This will definitely be the limiting factor for the growth of Walmart's online music store.
     
  17. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    Might be a boost in the 4-12 year old segment where mommy tells the kids what they can listen to, but yes, like I said in my first reply - its going to cost them overall since there are much more people in the 12+ age group than the 12 and under.
     
  18. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,244

    If you think about it, the only sales they will lose are the ones of edited versions of songs(well, they'll still sell some of those, but you get my meaning) I'm sure that the songs that have nothing edited will sell just as good as they do anywhere else.
     
  19. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    Well what I meant is its a 'boost' in their sales in the 4-12 segment compared to say iTunes where parents might be keeping their kids from downloading these - or they themselves not downloading it for thier kid.
    At first the other segments - ie pop, country, classical or whatever should seem to do just as well theoritically. But I propose that they may not. Because a lot of people won't want to have another download program on their computer when iTunes (or whatever they currently use) works fine.

    Basically I think to have a real impact they are going to have to offer the ability in their retail stores to upload it to your USB or Firewire connected device.
     
  20. chuonthis

    chuonthis TS Rookie Posts: 38

    Another deciding factor for Walmart's store is the portable player that consumers have already bought. The popularity of the iPod may send Walmart's music store to the graveyard since iPods can't play WMA files (yet?). But then again, people could be buying the music to listen to on their desktop computers...
     
  21. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,244

    or they could just play them on the many other players already out there that play wma.
     
  22. agrav8r

    agrav8r TS Rookie Posts: 103

    I think Strombringers point is that there is a significant amount on music that is not requiring edit.
    As or download programs, I am not so sure. I use multiple programs that do the same thing, just to make sure I don't miss something. i may not be typical, but typical computer users on know how to write email, and do a little surfing. we have to keep in mind that we are the minority- most people are clueless when it come o computers and download software.
     
  23. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    OK, you download multiple programs that do the same thing to make sure you don't miss something...

    Well I can't argue with that. But I can say I think you are the minority. So perhaps I didn't miss anything based on what you percieve as legal. Enjoy.
     
  24. BrownPaper

    BrownPaper TS Rookie Posts: 407

    the 4-12 age group is what is pretty much keeping the recording industry alive. all of those teeny bopper "artists" can thank those little kids for buying their highly marketed and superificial content.
     
  25. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    I think this Wal-Mart is going to come out with this head strong and simply dominat ethe industry. Because they can afford to lose money on the songs, it will just open up a new horizon for them. But in order to do so, as SNGX has s****ted they need to be able to download the explicit songs, because there is nothing worse than going to Wal-Mart and trying to buy a CD only to find out it is the edited version. That pisses me off. We'll just have to wait and see how this thing progresses.
     
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