Amazon.com and Pepsi have teamed up for a year-long free music promotion, very similar to one Apple and Pepsi had several years ago. The promotion, scheduled for a Super Bowl launch, will have consumers collecting five Pepsi bottle caps for one free music track from Amazon. In short, Amazon is making a major play against iTunes. The Super Bowl is the highest-profile advertising venue in the world, and Amazon will get tons of attention from the Pepsi promotion. For free music, plenty of people will take advantage of the promo — but will they stick around to buy music when it's finished?
Amazon has captured 3 percent of the digital download market since its music download store launched to little fanfare in September. The store did force Apple to drop the prices on its DRM-free music to the standard 99 cents, but it's had little impact besides that. Amazon certainly has the name recognition to make a store work, but with iTunes and the iPod so overwhelmingly in control of the music player market, it will be a tough sell to get the average iPod owner to download a song from Amazon, copy it into iTunes and then load it on his iPod. Three steps to get a song versus one step with iTunes? Apple actually licensed Amazon's 1-Click technology for the iTunes Store. Too bad Jeff Bezos has forgotten what he taught Steve Jobs.