Wal-Mart Launches Free Audio, Video Streaming Site

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 at http://soundcheck.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.