Wal-Mart launches full-scale integrated marketing campaign for new music download service

Wal-Mart launched a full-scale integrated marketing campaign along with the official launch of its online music store occurring yesterday. Wal-Mart plans to utilize the campaign within its brick and mortal retail presence to further push the service.

Wal-Mart launched a full-scale integrated marketing campaign along with the official launch of its online music store occurring yesterday. Wal-Mart plans to utilize the campaign within its brick and mortal retail presence to further push the service.

Promotional tools include visible signage in the music department and at the entrance, in-store 20-second TV spots and 30-second radio spots. In addition, Walmart.com online marketing, such as have point-of-view announcements when a user first accesses the site. The site will also continue to have boxed-out features. Currently the website features music download gift cards and specials for portable MP3 players.

Offering songs at 88 cents a download and exclusive songs from artists like Black Eyed Peas, Shania Twain and POD, the official launch comes on the heels of a test launch in December. The company said that its music catalog that has increased 50 percent since the test phase.

"The focus is really on our customers and offering more choice in their music selection," said Amy Colella, Walmart.com's manager of corporate communications.

Wal-Mart's Music Downloads will compete directly with the established players, such as Apple's iTunes Store and Roxio's Napster. Apple announced on March 15 it had sold 50 million songs since launching the service in April 2003. The company has predicted that it will reach the 100 million mark by the end of the year. The iTunes service sells songs for 99 cents. Roxio's Napster announce on February 23 that it sell over five million downloads since it launched in October 2003. The Napster service also sells songs for 99 cents.

"One of the enhancements was to the search-and-browse functionality. In addition to that, we're offering 24/7 email and phone support, which is particular helpful for novice users," Colella said.

One of the main marketing pushes on all fronts has been the service's content exclusivity. Wal-Mart announced that music label Curb Records, home of country acts like The Judds, LeAnn Rimes and Pat Boone, is making its songs available exclusively at Walmart.com for the next two months. Napster recently provided exclusive songs from CBS's Star Search adult singer finalists Freedom Bremner, Vicki Natale and Jake Simpson. Apple announced back in 2004 that it signed up independent labels Matador, Kill Rock Stars and SpinART.

"We have great content right now. Our exclusive content is very compelling to our customers. We will also continue to add to and grow the music selection," Colella said.

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