updated 08:40 am EDT, Tue October 28, 2008
Walmart MP3 Mac Support
Walmart today made an aggressive move against Amazon and Apple by lowering the prices of its MP3 Music Downloads store. The service now offers per-track downloads as low as 74 cents versus the 89-cent minimum of Amazon MP3 and iTunes' fixed 99-cent price. Normal tracks are 94 cents, Wal-Mart says. The retailer also plans to drive users to the store through a tie-in with CD sales: starting from mid-November, those who order physical copies of albums either online or in stores get a free MP3 song from any artist or album.
The company has also made key moves to open its previously Windows- and Internet Explorer-centric web store to more platforms. The new version works with any operating system, including Linux and Mac OS X, and supports more standardized browsers such as Firefox and Safari. It also synchronizes more directly with users' collections and will copy both the songs and their artwork to Windows editions of iTunes or Windows Media Player.
Walmart's initiative comes as the big-box chain has struggled to compete in the online space. The company lost its lead in total music sales to iTunes earlier in 2008 and has less than half the catalog, holding just three million songs versus Apple's 8 million. While Walmart has the advantage of unprotected music from all four major labels, Amazon MP3 has a similar advantage but also more than 4.5 million tracks.