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UK newspapers hop on music download bandwagon

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UK national newspaper The Sun and London local rag the Evening Standard have hopped onto the digital music bandwagon through joint promos with two UK-based online music services.

This weekend, the Sun began a summer-long deal with Napster, providing readers with 10,000,000 free songs.

The Sun promises an "accompanying promotion" on its website, but when we visited the site this morning, there's was no sign of it. However, we did see iPods being offered for sale - a rich irony, given their incompatibility with the Napster service.

The Evening Standard is this week teaming up with Wippit to offer ten free tracks a day to each reader who buys two copies of the paper - or at least cribs the passwords printed in any two of this week's editions. They also have to visit the website address published in Tuesday's edition.

Unlike the Napster/Sun deal, the Wippit/Standard offering provides a fixed list of 50 tracks. Sun readers will be able to choose from across Napster UK's 750,000-strong catalogue. However, Wippit has at least selected mostly MP3 songs; so unlike Napster's offering, many of the free tracks will be playable on IPods, Macs and Linux boxes, not just Windows machines.

The Guardian was first UK newspaper on the music download scene, signing a deal with major label EMI to provide downloads from EMI artists appearing at the Glastonbury festival in June. ®

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