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Walmart Dropping Music Downloads

8/10/2011 10:10:18 AM Eastern

Bentonville, Ark. - Walmart is shutting
its MP3 music download store this month.

According to a report in Digital
Music News, the eight-year-old download site will close on Aug. 28, due ostensibly
to weak consumer demand, price insensitivity, and market domination by Apple's
iTunes and Amazon.com.

A certified letter sent to
distribution and licensing partners obtained by the industry blog reads in
part: "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."

The site sells individual songs for
64 cents, 94 cents and $1.24, and album-length downloads at varying price
points.

A Walmart spokesman told the blog
that dropping MP3 downloads was "a business decision," and that it will
continue to support the DRM-protected files it sold prior to 2008.

Walmart
will continue to sell music via physical media in stores and online, the letter
indicated, and will also continue to provide its free Soundcheck concert
streaming service, albeit without any download options.

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