Sony BMG Downloads Still Missing at Wal-Mart

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Sony BMG and Wal-Mart remain at an impasse over paid downloads, months after disagreements first surfaced.

Downloads from artists like Alicia Keys, Sean Kingston, and Sara Bareilles are still “not available for download” according to checks this weekend.  The gap follows a shift by the mega-retailer towards an MP3-only marketplace, a move that initially caused licensing delays with Warner Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment.

Warner resolved its licensing negotiations in early May, though Sony BMG remains on the sidelines.  The company was unable to respond to an inquiry over the weekend, though industry executives have described a demand by the label to reverse the standard accounting relationship.  Under the revised arrangement, Sony BMG would assume control over a download sale and its full revenue, and distribute a percentage back to the retailer, in this case Wal-Mart.

Whether that represents a show-stopper for Wal-Mart remains unclear, and other disagreements may also be slowing progress.  Meanwhile, the bigger action at Sony BMG remains an ongoing divorce discussion between joint venture parents Bertelsmann and Sony Corp., enough to distract affected executives away from Wal-Mart licensing resolutions.