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03/09/2022

Walmart bulks up membership program by giving it free to employees, Spotify promo

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Walmart delivery

Walmart’s paid membership program now has a lot of new members — and a free music streaming promotion.

The discount giant is making its Walmart+ program, initially launched in September 2020, available free to all full- and part-time Walmart U.S. associates working in the company’s stores, distribution centers and fulfillment centers. This adds nearly 1.6 million members to the offering.

In addition to serving as a reward for their work, Walmart said providing employees with free membership enables them to use Walmart+, provide feedback and also offer customers first-hand information on its benefits.

Walmart is extending free Walmart+ membership to U.S. associates following a promotion for American Express Platinum cardholders it launched in October 2021. Holders of the American Express Platinum card (which has an annual membership fee of $695) who use their card to purchase a monthly Walmart+ membership can receive a statement credit which covers the full monthly membership cost of $12.95 a month, plus applicable taxes.

Spotify partnership

Walmart is also collaborating with the Spotify music streaming platform to offer a special promotion for Walmart+ members. Starting Wednesday, March 9, new and existing Walmart+ members will receive six months of the Spotify Premium content streaming service for free.

Spotify Premium includes ad-free streaming of an assortment of millions of songs and podcasts, unlimited skips, the ability to play any song anywhere, and the ability to download music for listening offline. The new Spotify partnership marks the second time Walmart has entered a promotional agreement with a music streaming platform.

In May 2020, the retailer started enabling customers who purchase from a select assortment of audio products on Walmart.com to try out the Tidal music streaming service free. Following the trial, customers can continue subscribing to the Tidal Premium service for a discounted monthly payment of $7.99 (normally $9.99). 

Other standard Walmart+ benefits include unlimited free delivery on most orders, gasoline discounts of up to five cents a gallon, and access to the chain’s Scan & Go app, which allows shoppers to avoid checkout lines by scanning items in the store and checkout using Walmart Pay.

Although Walmart has publicly denied that it launched Walmart+ to compete with any specific service, it does bear many similarities to the highly successful Amazon Prime paid membership program. Amazon does not currently offer any of its employees free or discounted Prime membership. However, Amazon Prime membership does include free streaming access to over 2 million songs and podcasts on Amazon Music, as well as free access to Prime Video movie and TV episode streaming.

“We are incredibly proud of the Walmart+ membership offering we’ve built,” Chris Cracchiolo, senior VP and GM, Walmart+. “But we are even more proud of the associates who make your shopping experience better every day. As we look into the future, Walmart+ will only continue to evolve. Stay tuned for new partnerships, new ways to save and an even more seamless in-store and online experience in the coming months, as we continue to find innovative ways to expand our Walmart+ offerings and reach even more customers.”