Editors' note: We have changed the ratings in this review to reflect recent changes in our ratings scale. Find out more here.
Wal-Mart's Music Downloads service sprang onto the online music scene this year, offering songs for a comparatively cheap 88 cents a pop and quickly becoming a hit with users (a recent NPD Group study ranked it second, behindGetting started with Wal-Mart's Music Downloads is a simple matter of pointing your browser to and ahead of ). As with other stores offering music à la carte, you won't need to sign up for any long-term commitment; you can buy individual songs or albums whenever you have the urge. &siteid=7&edid= &lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fmusicdownloads%2Ewalmart%2Ecom%2F">the Web site, choosing the songs you want, and putting them in your cart. You won't need to download any software, but you must have Windows Media Player 9.0 to play purchased music or transfer it to a CD or a &siteid=7&edid= &lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Emicrosoft%2Ecom%2Fwindows%2Fwindowsmedia%2F9Series%2FGettingStarted%2F%2FPersonalization%2FCoolDevices%2Easp">supported MP3 player. (You also must have Windows 98 SE or later--Mac and Linux aren't supported.) When you're ready to buy tunes for the first time, you'll be prompted to set up an account, which takes just a few minutes. Thereafter, you can simply check out and begin downloading immediately; your purchases are automatically charged to your credit card.