Walmart Shutters MP3 Sales, But Ramps Up Streaming Movies
Looks like Walmart has thrown in the towel with their online MP3 store. MP3 sales through Walmart's website will cease at the end of August.
Walmart launched its MP3 store in 2003, the same year that Apple opened the iTunes Music Store. While Apple has gone onto become the world's largest music retailer, with 66% of digital music sales, Walmart garnered only 1% of the digital music market. Even with their discounted pricing of $0.88 per track, Walmart never gained a foothold, despite 40 million daily visitors to their website and them being the #1 music retailer in the world at the time their MP3 store launched.
Shuttering the MP3 market comes at a strange time for Walmart, because they have been quietly ramping up their streaming video options. They acquired Vudu last year, and promptly discontinued the company's set-top boxes. Walmart is now focused on adding the Vudu app to HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and gaming consoles (it's already available on the PS3).
Their latest move now adds PPV streaming movies on the Walmart website. They have 20,000 titles available, which matches Netflix's online offerings. The difference is that Vudu is focused on PPVs and new releases available the same day as the DVD release. No subscription options available just yet.