Apple is continuing to explore new ways of adding value to its iTunes Music Store, with help from music labels.
Following the success of an earlier Music Store-only pre-release from Avril Lavigne, comes a new deal involving musician Ben Folds.
Folds is releasing an EP of new material every couple of months, until his new album ships. These will be available exclusively for download through the iTunes Music Store. Three five-track EPs will be released this year, with the first, Speed Graphic, already available.
Apple's move to add value to its service looks likely to be emulated elsewhere. With the music industry claiming a reported 65¢ per download there is little margin for price-cutting, leaving digital services to focus on end-user experience in order to differentiate themselves, industry insiders say.
EMI head of new media Fergal Gara told Macworld: "It's possible to add value to the user experience by integrating biographical and artist information, video clips, and interactive elements, for example."
Apple continues to introduce new artists and tracks on a weekly basis.