Apple's bid to place iTunes firmly in the rock-'N-roll hall of fame began in earnest yesterday with the US broadcast of a TV ad focused on its digital-music software.

The iTunes ad debuted last night with three showings on each of the WN and NBC TV networks. The ad is also available on Apple's Web site.

It features a host of musical celebrities, including Barry White, George Clinton, Liz Phair, Steve Harwell, De La Soul, Ziggy Marley, Chuck Berry, Dwight Yoakam, Exene Cervenka, Iggy Pop and Deep Dish.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that iTunes has been downloaded over 750,000 times since its release in January. The product has its own built-in, single-session CD-authoring capacity.

Music is the message The sixty-second TV ad has been developed to reinforce the music, Mac and burn message. The first few seconds feature a young male entering an empty theatre and finding a seat in the deserted auditorium. He takes a pile of CDs from his bag, and sifts through them.

The camera pans to the stage where over 20 professional musicians have appeared, each from a different musical genre. The man names each musician, and begins instructing them, dictating which songs he wants them to play for his next CD. The musicians discuss this with him, and then accept his instructions.

The ad closes with Apple's "Rip, Mix, Burn" slogan and final words from superstar George Clinton, who says: "It's your music. Burn it on the Mac. Dig?"