Apple brings back complimentary iTunes content with new 'Free on iTunes' section

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Consumers who lamented the cancellation of Apple's long-running "Single of the Week" program can once again fill their digital entertainment centers at Apple's expense, as the company has added a new "Free on iTunes" section with musical tracks and television episodes.

At launch, the "Free on iTunes" section in the U.S. store sports 16 songs from artists including The Bright Light Social Hour, Hiss Golden Messenger, and Machine Head. The eclectic selection meshes with Apple's previous practice of highlighting unknown or up-and-coming artists.

Television episodes — which come as full-length affairs —  are sourced from such critical hits as Ace of Cakes, Rev Run's Renovation, and My Big Fat Fabulous Life. They are available in both high- and standard-definition.

The cancellation of the iTunes "Single of the Week" was a source of consternation for many iTunes fans, who watched the store every Sunday for updated selections. The promotion ran for more than a decade in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Brazil, Canada, and Germany.

It remains to be seen whether Apple will retain its former schedule for the new section, or if the iPhone maker will choose to add additional content, such as movies or books. Apple already runs a special $0.99 movie-of-the-week promotion, while the iBookstore features a sparingly-updated list of free books.