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Market Power in Music Retailing: The Case of Wal‐Mart

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The retailing of pre‐recorded music has been an area of investigation that has long been neglected by popular music researchers. This paper focuses on the world's largest music retailer, Wal‐Mart, and its impact on traditional chain and independent music retailers. Many of the compact discs sold by Wal‐Mart are sold as loss‐leaders to attract consumers to buy other products. The response of traditional retailers to Wal‐Mart and other mass‐market discounters, i.e. minimum advertised price programs, is examined—as is the inability of traditional music retailers to claim that Wal‐Mart is engaging in predatory pricing. I then examine the impact of Wal‐Mart on the censorship of music. The paper concludes with some directions for future research, including a call for an examination of how traditional retailers can effectively compete against mass‐market discounters.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2005


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