Apple Pulls an Amazon with iTunes Affiliates

Apple have announced a rather smart new extension to their iTunes offering – an affiliate programme. Now websites can earn commission on tracks that recommend to potential customers.

It’s already possible to link to specific content on iTunes, but adding a 5% commission sweetener will encourage sites to promote the music store and favourite tunes. Will providing a financial incentive to promote tracks affect iTunes’ contribution to the new downloaded music charts? It’s too early to tell.

Amazon’s own affiliate service has been a great success, and some of the more prominent affiliates have done reasonably well out of it. Whilst individual tunes are certainly cheaper than books, music has a higher consumption and churn rate – bloggers will leap on this opportunity straight away, as they can now profit it out of telling everyone how cool their music tastes are.

Apple will be supporting their new affiliates with Apple-designed marketing materials and a regular newsletter.

“By working with affiliate websites we’re not only expanding access to iTunes, but are giving site owners the ability to connect to one of the hottest brands online, creating a quick and easy way for them to generate additional revenue,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of applications. Apple said it has to date sold over 125 million songs from its iTunes Music Stores in the U.S., U.K., Germany and France.

As an extra incentive, affiliates have the chance of winning an iPod Mini if they sign up before 15th September.

iTunes Affiliates

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?