Coca-Cola joins with Musicmatch in marketing venture

Coca-Cola said on Wednesday it has teamed up with online music company Musicmatch Inc. to promote its Sprite brand, marking the latest alliance between a major beverage maker and an online music service. Specific details are expected to be unveiled in the coming months, but the deal's announcement comes just days before Coke's rival, PepsiCo Inc. and Apple Computer Inc's iTunes Music Store kick off a promotion to give away up to 100 million song downloads. "As much as anything else, these campaigns raise consumer awareness of the legitimate music sites, and obviously the drink manufacturers are looking for ways to generate sales," said Mike McGuire, an analyst with GartnerG2. Under a recently announced RealNetworks Inc (NasdaqNM:RNWK - News) and Heineken NV deal, millions of song downloads will be given away this summer to consumers who buy Heineken 12-packs. and South Beach Beverage Co. have said they will co-sponsor a music tour this summer.

The Coca-Cola partnership will link privately held Musicmatch, the software company known for its popular music player, with millions of Sprite drinkers, the companies said. Last month, Coca-Cola said it was poised for a strong performance in 2004 following a major restructuring in response to sluggish sales of its core brands. Musicmatch launched a pay-as-you-download music services in September and on Wednesday said it was selling more than one million downloads per month through the service, which offers songs at 99 cents apiece. "We believe our partnership with Musicmatch is a great way to bring personalized digital music to U.S. consumers in new and innovative ways," said Geoff Cottrill, a Coca-Cola marketing executive. Musicmatch's Jukebox had more than 45 million registered software users in 2003, representing a 25-percent increase over 2002.

News source: Yahoo News!

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