Bebo agrees deal with iTunes for music file sharing

LONDON - Social networking website Bebo has signed a deal with iTunes to launch a file sharing service that will give users access to a 5m-strong catalogue of music tracks.

The deal is the latest in a series of partnerships recently announced by iTunes as it bolsters its music catalogue. Other tie-ups have included Coca-Cola.

The music sharing site is facing strong competition from Amazon, which last month launched a rival service to iTunes incorporating DRM-free MP3 format tracks.

Bebo will offer its 8.8m registered UK and Ireland users the chance to directly download iTunes tracks from any band that has a profile on the site -- believed to be around 500,000 recognised artists to date.

Additionally, Bebo users will be able to recommend tracks to other users and partake in Free Single Saturday, which will promote new releases from the likes of newcomers Paolo Nutini, Mika and Scott Matthews.

The first artist to feature on Free Single Saturday is Scottish singer Amy Macdonald, whose 'Youth of Today' single will be promoted in support of her debut album 'This is the Life', which is out in July.

The two companies said they would be working closely together in the coming months to create further music platforms to help promote record labels and artists within the Bebo community.

Joanne Shields, president international at Bebo, said: "The inclusion of iTunes is fantastic for Bebo users, offering them access to the world's most popular music download service directly from the site.

"Bebo bands will also benefit hugely from the deal, helping unsigned artists get discovered, and established artists attract more fans and sell more records."

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