Posts Tagged ‘Wal-Mart’

VOD service Vudu to become Wal-Mart's child

vuduAfter rumors circulated in January that US retail giant Wal-Mart was eying the video-on-demand service Vudu, the New York Times is reporting that it’s a done deal. Still no official word from either company but Dan Rayburn via one of his sources says the ink has dried and that’s good enough for me. It’s also an interesting end to a pretty long story:

Vudu started as a feisty silicon valley startup, unfashionably entering the consumer hardware space with its own set-top and accompanying HD video download store. Whilst its offering received good reviews based on the UI, movies were relatively expensive, as was the box itself, and I was always skeptical that consumers in great numbers would pay for hardware just to enter the store. The Vudu box was a one trick pony, providing a store front to the company’s content, or that’s how it felt to me. Competing consumer set-top boxes seemed to offer a lot more.

Eventually, Vudu opened up a little, supporting services other than its own, and lowered the price of its entry level hardware, but that still didn’t seem to be cutting it.

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Amazon MP3, Wal-Mart and Rhapsody just made buying music more confusing following iTunes' lead

With the major labels cajoling Apple into upping the cost of the most popular tracks on iTunes, I wondered how long it would take other music download stores to follow suit. Not long it seems – less than a day in fact – with paidContent and Ars Technica reporting that Amazon, Wal-Mart, Lala and Rhapsody have followed Apple’s lead and introduced ‘variable pricing’.

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Report: iTunes still leading music store in the U.S.

Apple’s iTunes remains number one in the U.S. amongst all music retailers according to the latest NPD MusicWatch figures. Based on purchases of CDs and a-la-carte digital music downloads from January through to June of this year, the league table is as follows:

  1. iTunes
  2. Wal-Mart (Walmart,, Walmart Music Downloads)
  3. Best Buy (Best Buy,, Best Buy Digital Music Store)
  4. Amazon (,
  5. Target (Target and

NPD says the results reflect “the ongoing consumer shift from physical CDs to digital music”, which has helped iTunes to consolidate the lead it established earlier this year.

See also: Review: Amazon MP3 offers compelling, promising alternative to iTunes

Most notably, Amazon has moved from fifth place to fourth, which NPD attributes to stronger CD sales online compared to competing brick-and-mortar stores, along with the launch of the company’s own music download store, AmazonMP3, last year. As a result, we shouldn’t be surprised to see Amazon overtake Best Buy in the not too distant future.

Wal-Mart ditches DRM at a cost

Wal-Mart ditches DRM at a costWhen Wal-Mart first starting selling DRM-free music through its online store, we had one major complaint. Alongside those iPod-friendly MP3s from EMI and Universal Music, sat copy-protected tracks from the two remaining major labels that were only compatible with PCs running Windows and supported PlayForSure devices. A sure way to confuse customers and create a very poor shopping experience, we concluded.

Along with a redesign of the Wal-Mart online music store, the “world’s largest retailer” has finally ditched DRM completely but at a cost. Rather than successfully negotiating licensing deals with the DRM-free holdouts – Sony BMG and Warner Music – Wal-Mart has sacrificed music from those two labels completely (tracks from Sony BMG’s Neil Diamond seem to be the exception, reports Wired).

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