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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Thursday began testing a new online music service, which offers song downloads for just 88 cents per song, compared to the 99 cents charged by most of its competitors.
Wal-Mart said its site has "hundreds of thousands" of songs that can be transferred to compatible portable devices, burned to a CD or played on Windows PCs, the Associated Press reports.
"The test phase for this new service is important to gauge customer feedback, so that we can deliver a quality music downloads service that customers will want to use time and time again," said Walmart.com senior category manager Kevin Swint.
Wal-Mart said it is planning a formal launch for the spring.
Wal-Mart's competitors include Apple's iTunes service, MusicMatch, Rhapsody and the revamped, legal Napster. Microsoft Corp. also plans to introduce its own song-downloading service next year, according to the AP.
A Walmart.com spokeswoman said the site would abide by the same content format as CD racks in Wal-Mart stores, which don't sell music the company deems offensive. On the Web site, the company notes that some songs are flagged as "edited" to denote a song was recorded without offensive lyrics.