Coca-Cola yesterday (Aug. 2) launched an online music store in New Zealand. It marks the soft drinks giant's first digital music foray into the Pacific region.

Coca-Cola yesterday (Aug. 2) launched an online music store in New Zealand. It marks the soft drinks giant's first digital music foray into the Pacific region.

Powered by Seattle-based digital media company Loudeye, the CokeTunes service has 500,000 titles from 12,000 international and local acts licensed from Universal Music, Warner Music, EMI Music and leading independent Festival Mushroom Records, among others.

Individual downloads cost NZ$1.75 ($1.20); full-album downloads start from NZ$18 ($13.80). Users can stream tracks for NZ$0.05 ($0.03). Customers can download tracks to PC or mobile phones.

An unspecified percentage of proceeds from each download sold will go to the CokeTunes Music Fund, which from this November will make grants to local musicians on a quarterly basis. "(The fund) will allow us to give something back to the local music community and hopefully help emerging talent from around New Zealand," comments Alison Sykora, regional corporate affairs manager for Coca-Cola NZ.

CokeTunes is the drinks company's eighth branded music site supported by Loudeye. Others operate in the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Poland.

There are two existing local download services: Digiram and Amplifier. Apple Computer has yet to comment on a launch date for iTunes in New Zealand.