Pepsi and Amazon Giving Away 1 Billion MP3s

The Great Pepsi MP3 Giveaway returns, but this time with...Amazon? Yup. Starting Superbowl Sunday (Feb. 3), Pepsi's stuffing 5 billion bottles of Coke soda with download codes, but you need five of 'em to get a free song. That's right, there will be no casual Pepsi drinkers getting free songs on Pepsi/Amazon's dime—which is about 40 cents a track, down from the 65-70 cents Amazon usually places in labels' pockets. Consequently, not all of them may participate, which is lame-o on their part.

It's a promotion people, come on—it helped put iTunes on the map back in 2004 and it might help Amazon's MP3 store gain some much needed visibility. What's interesting is that Billboard says this contest might serve as a tipping point to push Sony BMG into selling songs in the MP3 format—right now, Universal and EMI are the only two major labels doing so. If the contest isn't an adequate carrot, Wal-Mart might be providing the stick, since it's rumored to be threatening to drop Sony and Warner's catalog if they don't supply its online store with the MP3 format.

Given the fear labels have of the iTunes monopoly, you'd think they'd jump at a player-neutral format, and moreover, the chance to promote alternate players in the online music market. I, however, am not jumping at the chance to drink Pepsi. Blech. [Billboard via Paid Content, Flickr]