Wal-Mart testing web music service

By on December 20, 2003, 4:00 AM
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. launched a bare-bones Web site Thursday to test its new 88-cents-per-song [URL=http://musicdownloads.walmart.com/]online music service[/URL], 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: [URL=http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/031218/wal_mart_online_music_6.html]Yahoo News[/URL].




User Comments: 41

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StormBringer said:
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" .
poertner_1274 said:
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 :)
agrav8r said:
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.
Masque said:
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.
werty316 said:
We get one of these in my small city in Canada soon!8)
SNGX1275 said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by agrav8r [/i]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. [/quote] 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.
agrav8r said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by SNGX1275 [/i]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. [/quote] 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.
Vehementi said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by StormBringer [/i]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" . [/quote] 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.
StormBringer said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by Vehementi [/i]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. [/quote] 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.
BrownPaper said:
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.[quote][i]Originally posted by Vehementi[/i]Soon WMA will stand for "Wal-Mart Audio" [/quote] hahaha. well not if Microsoft has something to say about that! ;)
Qun Mang said:
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.
SNGX1275 said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by Vehementi [/i]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. [/quote] 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.
agrav8r said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by SNGX1275 [/i]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. [/quote] 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.
SNGX1275 said:
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.
chuonthis said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by agrav8r [/i]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. [/quote]Nope, it seems that Walmart's online music offering is actually just like the store's. From the article: [i]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.[/i] 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.
SNGX1275 said:
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.
StormBringer said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by SNGX1275 [/i]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. [/quote] 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.
SNGX1275 said:
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.
chuonthis said:
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...
StormBringer said:
or they could just play them on the many other players already out there that play wma.
agrav8r said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by SNGX1275 [/i]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. [/quote] 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.
SNGX1275 said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by agrav8r [/i]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. [/quote] 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.
BrownPaper said:
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.
poertner_1274 said:
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 suggsted 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.
Vehementi said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by poertner_1274 [/i]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 suggsted 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. [/quote] I sure hope not. That may sound a little contradictory coming from me, the capitalist, but iTunes is a much higher quality and integrity service than anything Wal-Mart would put out. I'm a capitalist in Andrew Carnegie's sense, who's sole desire was to make a higher quality product at a lower cost, and thus dominate the industry by doing that. iTunes has many more redeeming qualities than WMA (Wal-Mart Audio), chiefly the media player program, MP3 support, and that you're supporting a computer company that you know (and love ;)) and not some cut-rate retail outlet who only wants to make money and conquer the market by doing it.
StormBringer said:
What are you talking about Veh, WalMart is simply selling songs in .wma format that can be played on any device that supports wma, which is quite a long list.
poertner_1274 said:
I think they are just trying to use a different format, so they can have the marketshare in that department. I think this could be a smart move for them, especially since people have been talking about the future of MP3's and what will be the next generatoin. I don't think it will be WMA, but hey, it's a start.
agrav8r said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by poertner_1274 [/i]I think they are just trying to use a different format, so they can have the marketshare in that department. I think this could be a smart move for them, especially since people have been talking about the future of MP3's and what will be the next generatoin. I don't think it will be WMA, but hey, it's a start. [/quote] They are a large company who would have a great influence on the type of audio players that will be sold. The same thing I said with computers would like be done with players- say a 99 dollar wma player that holds 3g igs of songs and comes with 10 free downloads from waludio. com . If they go MP3 or another format, they allow the industry free reign to create any type of players they want. They could say offer multiple format players or WMA on players or you won't get shelf space in our stores.
chuonthis said:
As far as I know, they are using WMA not because its a different format, but because it's one of the only other formats besides AAC that has DRM capabilities.
Vehementi said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by StormBringer [/i]What are you talking about Veh, WalMart is simply selling songs in .wma format that can be played on any device that supports wma, which is quite a long list. [/quote] I'm talking about Wal-Mart stuffing out iTunes in the online music download industry. I don't want it to happen. I want iTunes to stay because it's a better service.
poertner_1274 said:
Not to be nieve, but Wal-Mart hasn't even rolled out their service yet, and what makes you think that iTunes is going to be better when you haven't even seen what Wal-Mart has to offer yet?
Krugger said:
I have absolutely no idea why they would truly do this. it's been shown that online music retailers don't make much if any profit. Apple does it b/c it's to promote sales of its Ipods, and that's working marvelously. Dell is doing the same now with the DJ. Otherwise, why bother selling at $.88, as you can't make a profit on that. Unless of course they are trying to increase sales of MP3 players from their stores... which i guess is a possibility.-Krugger
StormBringer said:
Here's a good reason Krugger, while you are waiting on your song selections to download, you can check out the selection of wma compatible players offered at walmart.com(insert monthly special here)
agrav8r said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by Krugger [/i]I have absolutely no idea why they would truly do this. it's been shown that online music retailers don't make much if any profit. Apple does it b/c it's to promote sales of its Ipods, and that's working marvelously. Dell is doing the same now with the DJ. Otherwise, why bother selling at $.88, as you can't make a profit on that. Unless of course they are trying to increase sales of MP3 players from their stores... which i guess is a possibility.-Krugger [/quote] It also sell computers, software and anything else they want to promote. plus they usually only cheap it out for a while and when the competition has thinned they go back to the regular price.
Krugger said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by StormBringer [/i]Here's a good reason Krugger, while you are waiting on your song selections to download, you can check out the selection of wma compatible players offered at walmart.com(insert monthly special here) [/quote] yea, i thought about that as i was replying which is why i added that bit about players... guess it's an idea. don't know how viable though. how many people that don't have mp3 players already are into the pay for download game? well, i guess we'll see in a few months how it all shakes out.
StormBringer said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by Krugger [/i]how many people that don't have mp3 players already are into the pay for download game? [/quote] They don't have to not have one, maybe they could use a new one, or maybe they need more storage, or headphones.
poertner_1274 said:
There is an endless possibility of what 'other' things Wal-Mart could try to sell you while you are waiting for your music to download. And I'm sure if they have the right price, combined people will be very attracted to it. Say once you download 100 songs, you get a discount off of a player. Just another idea.
SNGX1275 said:
And once they unveil their in store downloads (not mentioned other than in this thread) then its like Best Buy selling cds at a loss, chances are good that you are going to buy something else they sell while you are in the store.
chuonthis said:
Well, Walmart is already [URL=http://news.com.com/2100-1044_3-5110593.html]planning to sell Walmart laptops[/URL] so maybe they're gonna be selling music players soon too. Just another step towards world domination.
poertner_1274 said:
I remember reading this in another thread posted by someone here at TS. I think this is a good idea by walmart, because it will allow quite a few people the ability to own a laptop (or computer even) that probably couldn't afford one. Granted I'm sure it will be a POS, but it's better than nothing.
agrav8r said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by poertner_1274 [/i]I remember reading this in another thread posted by someone here at TS. I think this is a good idea by walmart, because it will allow quite a few people the ability to own a laptop (or computer even) that probably couldn't afford one. Granted I'm sure it will be a POS, but it's better than nothing. [/quote] Probably similar to what Emachines puts out. Good for a starting computer, but not much else. you get what you pay for.
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