Wal-Mart launches online music service

/ Source: The Associated Press

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. launched an online music video and audio service with exclusive studio performances Wednesday, part of a broader strategy to make itself trendier and draw consumers already in the store for cheap staples into other departments.

Dubbed "Wal-Mart Soundcheck", the service features studio performances and interviews with new and established bands and musicians, the Bentonville, Ark.-based company said in a statement. First up were punk pop fivesome Yellowcard and rock band Switchfoot.

The segments, each with four to six songs, will play for free on walmart.com and on television screens in Wal-Mart electronics departments. There will be a viewing event in stores of the complete 30- to 40-minute performance every few weeks on Friday nights and fans can also download audio tracks from the performances for a fee from the Web site. The artist selection will cover genres including rock, pop, punk, country, hip-hop and R&B. New acts will follow monthly.