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Wal-Mart sells MP3s from EMI, Universal

updated 11:00 am EDT, Tue August 21, 2007

Wal-Mart Begins MP3 Sales

Wal-Mart today opened its MP3 music downloads, giving customers the option of unprotected songs playable on any device rather than the protected Windows Media files that have been the staple of the retailer's website. The initial catalog includes both music from EMI as well as the recently promised Universal music library, which gives customers the option of artists such as 50 Cent and Bon Jovi. Tracks typically sell at nearly the same price as protected versions with individual songs offered for 94 cents each and most albums available for about $9.22.

The catalog and pricing significantly undercut Apple's offering, which is currently limited to only EMI musicians and is obligated to charge $1.29 per song, roughly a third more than its new competitor. Wal-Mart has not explained whether the pricing applies to all tracks but promises that its MP3s are completely compatible with devices that have typically been excluded from its online store, including iPhones, iPods, and Microsoft's Zune.

Accessing the store officially requires Windows XP or Vista, and Wal-Mart has not said whether it will change the conditions for access now that Macs, Linux, and earlier versions of Windows can now play its content.

The deal with Universal is currently a trial run that may expire as soon as January depending on its results, which the company claims will be used to determine the viability of selling music without DRM. Multiple reports have suspected that deals with Wal-Mart, as well as other smaller stores such as Rhapsody, are ultimately meant to test non-iTunes sales and pressure Apple into delivering more favorable contracts for hosting Universal artists.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007

    0

    windows media

    Does this mark the decline of Microsoft's Windows Media format, and possibly by extension, the Windows Media Player as a preferred (by way of default) tool for music and video playback?

  1. ccrider

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2001

    0

    itunes

    Is it me or did iTunes just cut their prices for iTunes Plus albums?

    There are some that are still $12.99 but many are $9.99 and even $7.99 (Amos Lee for example). The songs by themselves are still $1.29 though.

  1. bradbissell

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2003

    0

    Still the same

    iTunes is the same as it always was. $1.29 per track, $7.99 / $9.99+ per album.

  1. dliup

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006

    0

    lower quality = low price

    The quality of mp3 technology (which is around 15 years old), cannot compare to more recent, better sounding mp4 encodings when played on decent speakers.

    Lower quality of the Mp3 files of course translates to lower price for mp3 files. ENough said.

  1. ravedog

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2000

    0

    still need windows

    when perusing walmart's download section of their website with safari, you get

    "We're sorry, your operating system is incompatible. To provide the best download experience, we can no longer support Windows 98, ME or NT. Please visit again after you upgrade to Windows 2000 or XP. Visit our Help section for complete system requirements information."

    interesting.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: lower quality =

    The quality of mp3 technology (which is around 15 years old), cannot compare to more recent, better sounding mp4 encodings when played on decent speakers.

    That's nice, but, then again, they also state they were going for interoperability with most/all devices. You still can't say that about mP4.

  1. UberFu

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2002

    0

    and this has...

    what to do with Mac based News ?

  1. bloggerblog

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007

    0

    Should be shut down…

    Yes Wal-Mart should be forced to shut-down its evil operation or someone should toss the Union at them.

  1. Herod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007

    0

    damn this conglomerate

    they charge 5 cents per song less now then apple.... soon they will force the studios and artists to be selling them for about 50 cents.

    and we think the quality of "new" music stinks now....

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007

    0

    mp3 vs. mp4

    hmmm. Seems like a chicken and the egg argument with regard to mp4 compatibility, No?

    If only one company sells an mp4 player, then the demand for mp4 format compatibility isn't there?

    If every other mp3 player manufacturer doesn't build in mp4 compatibility, then there is no demand for the mp4 format?

    What the heck is the hold up on mp4 in the player arena? Why make new players without a the superior and currently open standard anyway?

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