Within hours of London's opening Live 8 performance by Bono-led U2 and Apple Corps. founder Paul McCartney, Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store made the opening performance of The Beatles track "Sergeant Pepper" (sung by McCartney with U2 as the all-star backing band) available for purchase through its store.

The track - along with McCartney's rendition of Beatles track "The Long and Winding Road" - is also available on 200 digital music services worldwide.

In a Guinness Book of Records-adjudicated attempt to harness digital music services to deliver the fastest-ever global release of a live track, Universal worked with partners, including the BBC and Capital Radio, to make Live 8's opening track available for sale within one hour of its performance,

All profits are to be donated to Live 8, "and the fight for the future of Africa", according to the iTunes website.

"The proceeds from the download sales are being donated to Live 8", confirmed Universal in a statement. The release will not be made available as a physical product, distribution is to be a digital exclusive.

"Music fans have an opportunity to set a world record of their own, by buying the downloadable "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" more than any other track previously released online," the statement continued.

Music, media and technology in world-first cooperative expression

Achieving this required a unique partnership between all involved. Immediately after its performance, the show's opening track was transmitted by satellite to BBC TV Centre in London. It was then relayed to UK radio broadcast company, Capital Radio.

"A direct digital recording was captured there for Universal Music, which edited, mastered and transmitted the track to its production centre in Hanover, Germany," Universal's statement explains.

The final master, "was sent to the company's global electronic distribution warehouse in the US, followed by real-time delivery to online retailers around the world, for sale as the first Live 8 download", the company adds.

The world-first attempt matches focus placed this week on this week's meeting between the leaders of the eight largest economic powers at the G8 meeting at Gleneagles on Wednesday July 6.

The global series of Live 8 concerts harnessed cooperation between music and technology companies to represent a viable fund-raising opportunity for Live 8.

The decision by Sir Paul McCartney to permit sale digitally of the release underlines the world-first nature of the conscioussness-raising event. McCartney has been notably reticent to allow sale of his recordings through digital outlets.

Global poverty - time to 'Think Different'

Microsoft co-founder and chief software architect Bill Gates took the stage during the London event to remind governments, musicians and the billion people watching the show that the solution to great problems is to throw resources and commitment at them.

Microsoft isn't the only major-league corporation committed to making the world 'Think Different': Apple reminds iTunes users: "100 artists, a million spectators, one billion viewers, and one message: stop extreme poverty in Africa".

30,000 daily deaths

As Will Smith reminded the crowd gathered for the concert in Philadelphia, every three seconds a child dies needlessly, Apple states: "Every single day, 30,000 children die needlessly, of extreme poverty."

Apple has assembled songs from the artists who gave live performances at concerts in London, Paris, Berlin, Philadelphia, Rome, Barrie, Moscow, Tokyo and Johannesburg easily available through its service, by offering a dedicated page featuring the acts available within iTunes.

Meanwhile, Live 8 is appealing for signatures to a petition which will be presented to eight world leaders on July 6.