Some would say it’s notable that the nation’s largest retailer is quietly shutting the door of their 8 year experiment competing with the likes of Zune, iTunes, and Amazon. Some would say that Walmart should have been able to use it’s lower prices, and relative ubiquity with consumers to strong arm it’s way to the top. Today Walmart announced that they are exiting the MP3 Music business, and we have to say, we aren’t shocked, we aren’t shocked in the slightest.
“After eight years in business, the Walmart Music Downloads Store located at mp3.walmart.com will close on August 28, 2011. All content in the Store will be disabled and no longer available for download from the store,” according to a certified letter that was shared exclusively with Digital Music News, a music industry website. “The sale of physical record music products on Walmart.com as well as in Walmart U.S. retail store will remain unaffected. Walmart Soundcheck (soundcheck.walmart.com) will remain operational as a live streaming site without any download options.”
The Atlantic would have you believe that Walmart is pulling the plug because of iTunes’ dominance but we disagree slightly. First not a single one of Walmart’s digital ventures, whether it was their attempt to create an ISP or have a focus on the hardcore gaming market have paid off. Why? Because they don’t understand digital, a problem best exemplified by actually branding anything they want to be taken serious by these markets with a Walmart logo. Second, while their MP3 Download Store is hitting the road, they will be continuing to support their Walmart Soundcheck streaming services. (It’s existence to us is news as well.) Why is that? Because streaming services are the future of music.