Coca-Cola to extend music links with own download site


LONDON – Coca-Cola is to launch an internet music download service next month in the UK, making it the first consumer brand to launch such a service.

The service, which starts with a catalogue of 250,000 songs when it launches in January, will be located at, and has been designed by UK download specialist OD2.

The content, comprising the back catalogues of some 8,500 artists, is provided by the five major record labels – BMG Records, EMI Group, Sony, Vivendi Universal and Warner Music. Each track will cost 99p to download although Coca-Cola is not expecting to make a profit from the service.

Despite an increase in interest in legal download sites through formats such as Microsoft’s Windows Media Player and Apple’s iTunes in the US, they still lag behind illegal file sharing sites.

However, music downloads are increasingly being turned to as marketing tools, with Coca-Cola’s rival PepsiCo and fast-food giant McDonald’s launching marketing tie-ins with existing music download services. Pepsi is currently running a promotion in the US to give away 100m songs in an on-pack promotion.

The launch of will coincide with the start of Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the UK singles chart, broadcast on BBC Radio 1. That deal has already hit controversy because of Government efforts to clamp down on the marketing of ‘junk food’ brands to children.

Coca Cola has traditionally had less to do with the music industry than its rival Pepsi, which has more closely associated itself with music.