Digital music operators are playing hardball in the Battle of Musical Britain, with news of a joint deal between Napster and The Sun newspaper.
Napster's deal with the 4 million-a-day circulation tabloid means that for eight Saturdays throughout summer, The Sun is offering readers the chance to download tracks for free from Napster's 750,000-strong song catalogue. The Sun is read by ten million people each day.
The partnership begins in today's edition of the paper with £50,000 of music-related prize giveaways. The top prize in today's competition is the chance to win a trip to Napster's LA HQ to attend a live private recording session and receive a platinum disc from a major artist, Napster said.
Additional prizes include over 200 free Napster subscriptions, a variety of non-Apple-made music players, free NTL broadband subscriptions and packs of Roxio's Creator 7.
The competition will be followed throughout the rest of the summer by a series of innovative major music giveaways from Napster in The Sun.
Npaster president Brad Duea described the partnership as "significant," and said: "The Sun has tremendous brand identity and reach throughout the UK and has proven itself time and again as a major influencer of public opinion.
"Napster was the first online music service to partner with a major UK consumer electronics retailer – the Dixons Group – and now we're the first in our industry to join forces with a daily national paper. We are very pleased to see another world-class organization and brand embrace Napster through a mutually beneficial partnership."
Head of marketing strategy of The Sun publishers News Group Newspapers, Sean Mahon, said: "We are always looking to innovate and deliver value and with the recent rise in legitimate online music services we felt the time is right to offer readers, especially younger ones a market leading and exciting, free music download promotion. Instead of us providing a free CD with pre-selected tracks, we are offering readers the opportunity to create their own compilation by downloading free tracks throughout the summer.
The Sun online marketing manager Danny Rogers said: "When you add in a further 4.5 million unique users who visit www.thesun.co.uk on a monthly basis, we can safely say that this is the biggest free music download promotion ever run in the UK."
Napster vice president and UK general manager, Leanne Sharman said: "Napster is the world's biggest name in online music and by combining our marketing resources with the UK's favourite newspaper we now have a hugely efficient mechanism for maintaining and extending our message before a national audience."