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Wednesday, July 27, 2005, 10:00 am PT (01:00 pm ET)

Apple, Gap to launch iTunes promo

Exclusive — Apple Computer and clothing retailer the Gap are preparing to kick-off a promotion that will offer Gap customers free iTunes songs for trying on clothing at its retail stores, AppleInsider has learned.

Word of the partnership comes just ahead of the back-to-school shopping season, where millions of consumers traditionally flood US shopping malls and clothing retailers in search of the latest fall fashions.

Specifically, industry sources say the San Francisco, Calif.-based clothing retailer will begin handing out free iTunes song downloads to customers who are willing to try on any pair of Gap blue jeans.

The Gap, which operates nearly 3000 stores worldwide, will run the promotion in all US retail stores that are not designated as "early back-to-school" locations from Aug. 8th through the end of the month. Stores that are designated as early back-to-school stores may start the promotion at an earlier date.

Each customer who tries on a pair of jeans will be rewarded with a little green iTunes card that includes a code redeemable for one free song from the iTunes Music Store, sources said.

Over the last two years, Apple and Pepsi teamed on a similar promotion that randomly placed codes redeemable for free iTunes songs under the caps of specially marked 20 oz and 1-liter Pepsi bottles. The two companies hyped the promotion with television spots that aired during the 2004 and 2005 NFL SuperBowl championship games.

Apple's iTunes Music Store leads the online legal music download industry with over an 80 percent share and just recently surpassed the half-a-billion milestone in songs sold.

Although the iTunes Music Store contributes only a marginal profit for Apple each quarter, it is a major driving force behind sales of the company's ubiquitous iPod digital music players. During the three-month period ending June, Apple announced that it sold over 6 million iPods worldwide.

Meanwhile, Apple's iTunes Music Store currently caters to 19 countries, which combine to reach more than 70 percent of the global music market. On Aug. 4, the company is expected to broaden its iTunes presence when it extends the service to the booming Japanese market.