Sony BMG Spain and mobile phone operator Vodafone Espana are launching a three-month summer promotional campaign which will offer Vodafone subscribers access to free downloads of 1,000 tracks from the label's catalog.

The "Vodafone Summer'" campaign, running June 21-Sept 21, also sees the phone company removing charges for calls made between its 15 million clients in Spain. For the duration of the campaign, its 3 million 3G phone clients can download any of the Sony BMG tracks, by Spanish and international artists.

Sony BMG Spain president Carlos Lopez and Vodafone Espana marketing director Ignacio Roman unveiled the campaign in Madrid today (June 20). Lopez says the main purpose of the campaign is to get clients accustomed to the idea of downloading so that after the free offer ends, they will pay for music downloads.

"People do consume music, but mostly by stealing it through illegal downloads and piracy," says Lopez. "The first thing is to get people used to downloading, and then for them to take the step to pay for it."

Roman adds "this campaign is mainly targeting the 3G clients, as I think many of them don't realise that what they've got in their pocket functions as an MP3 [player]." He says that, in the fiscal year ended March 31, Vodafone sold 3 million tracks in Spain, adding: "our income from data services in Spain, which includes MP3 downloading, increased 27.5%."

Music downloads on the Vodafone Live! service normally cost 1.5 euros ($2) per song.

Sony BMG songs that can be downloaded free until Sept. 21 include material from top-selling Spanish artists Andy & Lucas, Kiko Y Shara, El Canto De Loco, and Pastora, and Latin stars Ricky Martin and Chayanne.

Roman says the summer campaign took six months to prepare and will be promoted with TV advertising. It is the second high-profile collaboration between the two companies this year. In March, they teamed to create what was styled Spain's first "virtual" record label, SV Music.