Walmart is pulling the plug on its MP3 downloads store, but it will continue to support DRMed tracks that it sold before the store went DRM-free. The news comes via a leaked memo to Digital Music News—later confirmed by a Walmart representative—which told music licensing partners that the store would close on August 28, 2011.
“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,” reads the memo. The also company reassured its partners that the sale of physical media through Walmart would be unaffected.
Walmart’s music store started out as a DRMed venture in 2004, but went DRM-free in late 2007 (as it was the fashion at the time). Though Walmart was one of the first major names to get into selling DRM-free music, it never really caught on—Apple soon became the number one music retailer in the world, and Amazon has managed to push its way to number two thanks in part to its own MP3 music store. Both Amazon and iTunes offere a better user experience too, with software for multiple platforms and a large built-in user base. Let’s face it: for mainstream music, why would anyone choose Walmart over the competition when it comes to music downloads?
Alas, Walmart’s memo to its partners doesn’t go into detail as to why the company decided to shut down, but it seems obvious that Walmart just couldn’t compete without something more to offer. The company did say, however, that DRMed music files that were purchased before the store went DRM-free would continue to function even after the MP3 store shut-down. The company had attempted to kill its DRM servers in 2008—leaving its previous customers out in the cold if they were to need re-authorization—but later decided to leave the DRM servers online after receiving bad customer feedback.
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Walmart pulling the plug on its MP3 store, but not its DRM servers