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COKE AND MUSIC, TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME

New Download Sites Coming From Coca-Cola and Hewlett-Packard, Because That’s Where the Glamour Is
For years, people in the music business have used and enjoyed coke. Now Coke is repaying that brand loyalty by jumping into the music business with a paid download site, available online and not through the dealers you already know.

Launching in January, Mycokemusic.com will be aimed at British music buyers, who want to spend 99 pence ($1.74) per track. The front page of the not-yet-active site promises that it will have more than 250,000 songs from 8,500 artists.

Coca-Cola will launch the service in association with OD2, the digital download company founded by Peter Gabriel that provides the tech for Dotmusic, HMV, Ministry of Sound, Freeserve and MSN.

According to published reports from across the pond, “major stars” are donating exclusive tracks during the first year of promoting the new site. Coca-Cola says the new site is supported by the British Phonographic Industry.

Mycokemusic.com is the first music download site run by a food and drink brand. Because Coke apparently makes money with other products, they could put pressure on the price point. In related soft drink news, a teasing banner ad on Apple’s iTunes site has promised 100 million free downloads from Pepsi in February 2004.

Said Coca-Cola marketing director Julia Goldin: “We’re delighted to bring downloadable music to more people and we are working in close partnership with the music industry to do so. Consumers have told us that downloading music is confusing and complicated and what they want is an easy, simple-to-use downloadable service from a trusted brand. Take that, Pepsi!”

A spokesperson for HMV told The Scotsman (yes, that’s an actual paper): “From a retailer’s point of view, we feel confident that people will stick to established retailers that have a lot of experience in the area. They can offer expertise and depth of knowledge and we feel the vast majority of record buyers would want to continue buying from these sources. For many people there is an emotional attachment to buying music and people enjoy going to record stores or visiting them online to browse.”

Proving that the download store idea is a sexy and original one, computer maker Hewlett-Packard is launching its own download site and companion MP3 player sometime in the first quarter of next year. Reports suggest that HP’s site will be a branded HP music download store that uses back-end tech from another site. The details will be unveiled at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show.

HITS LIST: AMPERSANDS
Dynamic duos (12/6a)
NEAR TRUTHS:
WINNING NOMINATIONS
I.B. Bad on music's biggest comeback (12/6a)
ON THE COVER: LADY GAGA & TONY BENNETT
It's De-Lovely. (12/6a)
CALLING THE PLAYS:
JOHN JANICK
We salute the winner and still champ. (12/6a)
SONG STREAMS:
'TIS THE SEASON
It's beginning to look a lot like Xmas. (12/6a)
CHESTNUTS
Roasting.
STOCKINGS
Stuffing.
PIPERS
Piping.
SANTA
Coming.
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