The site was in operation Thursday morning, signaling that the world’s largest retailer is moving to capture more of the music market.
Wal-Mart executives are fond of saying 20 percent of their customers don’t have checking accounts. But in Thursday’s announcement, Walmart.com senior category manager Kevin Swint said 64 percent of Wal-Mart customers are online.
“We see digital music downloads as a natural extension of the music selection offered in Wal-Mart stores,” Swint said.
The company plans to see what customers like and don’t like about the service in the months ahead and formally launch the service in 2004.
The site has “hundreds of thousands” of songs, available in WMA (Windows Media audio) format. The songs can be transferred to compatible portable devices, burned to a CD or played on Windows-compatible PCs, the company said.