In what is claimed to be the biggest music promotion in Europe's history, Coca-Cola has teamed up with iTunes to give away free music downloads to lucky European Coke drinkers -- with a chance to win a track on 2 billion packs of the fizzy black stuff. The promotion will run between May and August of this year and with Coke covering the vast cost of the downloads, Apple is set to see its total sales through iTunes rocket beyond the stratosphere.
There are also iPods up for grabs, along with free tickets to a vast collection of iTunes and Coke-sponsored music concerts throughout the year. Various big names are said to be performing (although we don't know what those names are yet), along with a plethora of new, lesser-known acts. These concerts are to be recorded and made available exclusively on iTunes for download.
Legendary dance collective Faithless have recorded a special track exclusively for the iTunes-Coke partnership. They will perform live at the promotion's launch event at the Cannes Film Festival. The group has also teamed up with designers to produce a limited-edition, ultra-stylish Coke bottle that will ship during the promotion, though no further details on the final design are yet known.
This huge deal is set to damage kids' dentistry even further, while simultaneously destroying their little ears with great music -- every kid's and parent's dream, of course. As Faithless might say, "I can't get... no... teeth." Oh, we crack ourselves up.
What's not known, however, is whether these free downloads from iTunes will include tracks from the new DRM-free library EMI has admirably announced. This sceptical reporter says nay, but in a world where Dell ships Linux PCs, and a major label dishes out their entire catalogue in freely piratable format, nothing would come as a surprise.
Now if only Pepsi would team up with eMusic... -Nate Lanxon
Update: A previously published version of this story stated that the promotion was to give away 2 billion free music downloads. We apologise for the mistake.