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Walmart MP3 hits 74 cents, gains Mac support

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.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. bjojade

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007

    +2

    Great news!

    O.K, so what's the REAL holdup keeping Apple from making iTunes DRM free? Obviously all the other big players are doing it. Why won't the labels let Apple?

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999

    +2

    Power

    Keeping iTunes DRM based is the only power the music company's can dangle over Apples head. Labels try to make everyone else DRM Free in an effort to give them a leg up and loosen Apple grip.... but to no avail.


  1. Constable Odo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007

    0

    Supposedly, Apple...

    barely makes money from the iTMS, so if Walmart is selling the songs for less money, how are they making any profit at all. Anyone have an idea what's causing so much overhead cost of maintaining iTMS? Storage costs, programmer maintenance?

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -1

    Re: Supposedly

    Supposedly is correct. The thing is, no one actually knows how much Apple makes from the iTMS, and they aren't saying. But considering the amount of sales they have on it, and how closely they hold to FairPlay and such, one would think that its not just 'squeaking' by.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -1

    Re: Power

    I know everyone loves to kill the RIAA, but why exactly is Apple having 'the power' better than the RIAA, except that it kicks the RIAA?

  1. vasic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005

    +1

    Very simple

    Apple barely makes money on iTunes. Labels are giving Wal-Mart a big break. It is widely known that their cut from the $0.99 US price is around $0.79, and the remaining $0.20 is left to Apple to cover the cost of bandwidth, hosting, etc. Obviously, labels can afford to give Wal-mart a big break in order to undercut Apple and iTunes.

    Make no mistake, for consumers, Apple and iTunes having power is infinitely better for the consumer than labels having power. Apple was the one that brought DRM-free music (remember, EMI was the first label that agreed); when labels realised it wouldn't generate rampant piracy, they decided they liked it, but, in order to undercut iTunes, they let everyone else sell DRM-free.

    If the labels were to take away iTunes dominance, we would quickly see individual singles die away. We would again be forced to download entire albums in order to get the one song we like. We would end up paying $2 per song for the songs people really want.

    ITunes has provided the pricing that's easy to understand and affordable for the masses. If labels got theri way, their greed would quickly change everything and basically kill the nascent download business.

    Therefore, don't get tempted to shop at Amazon or Wal-Mart. Buy iTunes songs, even if it means paying just a bit more, for a DRM-infested songs. If we all do that, labels will eventually have to capitulate with their DRM requests and iTunes will became truly DRM-free (at least for music; movies and TV are another story).

  1. csimon2

    Junior Member

    Joined: Aug 2000

    -2

    KoolAid

    Wow... someone is actually defending DRM? Never thought I'd see the day (at least when there are clearly better options out there). I'm very happy to purchase tracks from iTunes when they are DRM free (personally I find that high bit rate AAC sounds much better than high bit rate MP3), but if there is DRM on a 99 cents song on iTunes, and there is no DRM on a 89 cents song on Amazon, then sorry, Amazon will get my dollar (even though the "experience" of buying music at Amazon is piss-poor).

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -2

    Re: Very simple

    If the labels were to take away iTunes dominance, we would quickly see individual singles die away. We would again be forced to download entire albums in order to get the one song we like. We would end up paying $2 per song for the songs people really want.


    No, you aren't FORCED to do anything. Free market is just that. You don't like the price, don't f'ing pay for it!

    Apple was the one that brought DRM-free music (remember, EMI was the first label that agreed);

    Yes, because it certainly couldn't be that EMI was planning that, and Apple just happened to post Steve's letter right before it.

    And one would argue Apple saying "We think music should be DRM-free" isn't exactly wielding power. Wielding power would be what they did to Universal and video "It will be what it will be, and if you don't like it, leave!". I don't see Apple kicking the DRM music off their store, which one would argue they should do. Force the labels while you got the power.

  1. boleric

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2007

    0

    re testudo

    No the music market is not free market. It is a bunch of mini monopolies. Unless you can show me that I can get songs from multiple distributors. Free markets only occur where there is competition. There is no competition if all U2 songs are held by one company.

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999

    0

    Free Market

    Anyone who is asking for a free market should know what they are asking for.

    e.g. If U2 (as a seller of a property) choose Apple (as a buyer/reseller of a property) over another company or companies , free market is working. If U2 only had one choice, Apple or no one, then free market fails. (My simple understanding of free market principles.)

    One can choose where to buy a song, for a price, quality, and format that one chooses to use. One is never forced to buy a song from iTunes to play on an iPod.

    In my free market, I often buy the CD and rip my own AACs for my iPod. I prefer the higher quality of my rips over anything sold digitally. However, when I buy online, typically I find the quality of the iTunes tracks exceeds the competition's MP3s.

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