February 15, 2004

Pepsi, Itunes Off Key

If you saw the ad shown during the Superbowl, Pepsi is involved in a promotional tie-in with Apple to give away 100 million iTune songs. One out of three Pepsi bottles has a code inside the cap for a free song that can be downloaded off the iTunes service.

So what’s wrong?

>>In a blatant act of coercion, the ad “stars” kids sued by the RIAA who have been financially exploited to turn around and shill for the organization.

>>The ad indicates that the kids were guilty when, in fact, they never went to court.

>>In the ad, the kids state they were “busted” for downloading music. In fact, none of the charges involved downloading.

>>Of the 99 cents that Pepsi pays Apple for the iTunes song, 65 cents of it will likely end up with one of the five major record labels. That’s because iTunes has only a very minor selection of independent publishers and no self-published music.

>>Apparently, the ink used to print the code in many of the bottle caps is defective so the numbers cannot be read. Having set up a website where people can get a code by email, Pepsi is now building itself a huge database of these unsuspecting customers, collecting not just names, but addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth.

>>Whereas Apple made its mark as a maverick entity with its infamous “1984” Superbowl ad, the tie-in with Pepsi and the RIAA reveals just how far the company has sold out.


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Michael Shaw
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