Microsoft and AmEx Join in Music Download Promo

Deal Launches New 'MSN Music' Feature

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Microsoft's MSN.com has signed American Express as a sponsor of a new free music download area, MSN Music, the companies said yesterday.

Gwen Stefani is one of the artists spotlighted on MSN's new iTunes-like music download site.
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The announcement, made at this week's AdTech conference in New York, marked Microsoft's continuing push into the music download field, which has been thus far dominated by Apple's iTunes and iPod system.

For American Express, the move is the latest music-connected promotion for a company that has dramatically skewed its advertising programs away from traditional venues such as 30-second TV spots to branded entertainment formats.

'Increasingly personal'
An individual's PC is "increasingly personal," said Gayle Troberman, director of MSN. It's where people find their photos, friends and music. The advertising pact is geared toward helping "American Express connect with the consumer on a personal level."

The MSN/American Express partnership is ongoing and geared toward maintaining customer relationships and acquiring new customers for the credit card company, according to the companies.

Visitors to MSN Music who use their American Express card to purchase music downloads will automatically receive a free song courtesy American Express.

10 free song downloads
Consumers who apply for a American Express Blue card through a link on the MSN site will be eligible to receive a minimum of 10 free MSN Music downloads. The download credits will be awarded when the card is approved.

The credit card is the sole sponsor on a just-debuted area of MSN Music called "In the Mix," which features old favorites from many genres and also highlights new musicians, Ms. Troberman said.

Branded content
American Express branded content is also available at the In the Mix section. For example, fans can access the "Blue 50" -- a list of the most popular downloads at the hub. Visitors vote through a weekly poll for which songs will be featured on "In the Mix."

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