BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart has begun testing downloadable music through its e-commerce site, Walmart.com.
loads" last month and, as anticipated, undercut the competition at 88 cents for "Every Song, Every Day." Most other services, such as Apple's iTunes or Roxio's Napster 2.0, offer music for 99 cents per song.
An official launch of the Wal-Mart music service is expected sometime this year, according to a Liquid Digital Media. Wal-Mart has less than half the songs of its major competitors, according to media reports. Also, it only is available to customers using Windows computers and Windows Media Player 9, according to Walmart.com.
"We're excited to offer this convenient service with the value and selection our customers expect from Wal-Mart," Kevin Swint, Walmart.com's senior category manager of entertainment, said in a prepared statement. "Liquid Digital Media was the obvious choice for a partner -- capable of providing a service built to order for us, backed with years of experience, and delivered in an aggressive time frame."
"At 88 cents per song, we think customers will really respond to this service," said Cynthia Lin, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman.
"Our unique position in the market enables us to quickly deliver tailored solutions for our partners with their customers in mind," said Ole Obermann, Liquid Digital Media vice president and general manager. "The Wal-Mart Music Downloads service is an excellent example of this. It's our first step in working together, and we look forward to continuing to develop advanced digital media distribution systems for Walmart.com and other partners based on the needs and wants of their customers."
According to the Walmart.com Web site, all songs are priced at 88 cents, and albums are of varying prices, depending on how many songs. Some albums, like Reba McEntire's "Room to Breathe" and Coldplay's "A Rush of Blood to the Head," were priced at $9.44. As in the Wal-Mart retail stores, the offering also includes edited music, such as an album by Blink-182. Some albums do not include all the songs available in the retail versions, the Web site said. Only customers living in the United States can use the Walmart.com service.