Pepsi, record labels team with AmazonMP3 to give away free music this Super Bowl

amazon pepsi logos 300Four years ago, the major record labels lined up with Pepsi-Cola to give away 100 million songs through Apple’s iTunes online music store. Fast forward to today.

Beginning Feb. 1 and hitting full stride with ads during this year’s Super Bowl on Feb. 3, Pepsi will be giving away upwards of a billion songs from three of the four major record labels through another upstart online music store, AmazonMP3.

pepsi stuffThe irony here is that four years ago, the record labels were clamoring for ways to protect their content so music lovers couldn’t trade the free songs and  downloads purchased online. Apple stepped in with the FairPlay digital rights management (DRM) platform, and the promotion helped iTunes take off and become the No. 1 online music store.

But now the current tide isn’t DRM but DRM-free as the record labels — SonyBMG, Universal Music Group, EMI, and Warner — have joined ranks with AmazonMP3 to offer songs from their catalogs without copy protection, making them playable on any MP3-equipped music player. All but UMG are participating in the Pepsi-AmazonMP3 giveaway.

In the promotion, people who buy Pepsi drinks will receive points that can be redeemed for music downloads at a special section of the AmazonMP3 site. Danny Socolof, president of Mega, the Las Vegas marketing agency that developed the promotion known as “Pepsi Stuff”, told The New York Times that the move away from DRM would “unleash a new age in the music business, and it’s sorely needed.”

The Times’ piece, headlined “Music Industry, Souring on Apple, Embraces Amazon Service,” is a well-worth-reading examination of what’s going on in the music industry, particularly between DRM and DRM-free music, the record labels, and Apple and Amazon.

I just wish I liked soft drinks these days. Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and Sierra Mist hold no interest, but if the promotion includes Aquafina water, Propel, and Gatorade, I just might get some free music.

But not Justin Timberlake, OK?

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

2 Responses to “Pepsi, record labels team with AmazonMP3 to give away free music this Super Bowl”

  1. Elisha says:

    Wow. This is amazing. Billion songs from SonyBMG, Universal Music Group, EMI, and Warner! That’s a great deal. Looking forward to take advantage 😀

  2. Saurabh says:

    I support the change. As content creators with a focus on new and emerging media, we understand the challenges surrounding the monetization ability of digital content. In this light the debate around protecting content from ‘unauthorised’ downloads / usage has intrigued me right from the beginning both as a consumer as well as a creator.
    While iTunes and more recently even sections of Bollywood have been able to sell DRM protected content and reaped moderate benefits, introducing the idea of ‘paid’ digital media to consumers, DRM implementation is still hobbled by lack of universal standards, high costs and overstated efficacy. As a pioneer in Short Form Content (SFC) business in India, we have evaluated DRM specifically in our context (SFC) as opposed to the holy grail of digital content. And we believe, A new medium needs a new idiom. The success of the quirky creative endeavors has been fuelled by a viral internet platform. The content creators allow (via their web sites / channels] users to carry (embed) their work and share it with the rest of the cyber world without paying a penny.
    This massive traffic and organized distribution has created new markets and made it easier to access the old ones. For some amateurs there may not be much after a short spate of viewership but a serialized, well marketed amateur video can evolve into a brand. I strongly feel Internet is a beautiful medium to help content travel to various markets and demographics. Instead of locking it down be prepared to re-purpose / re-orient your product to any distribution channels such as Mobile or even Print.

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