Coles Myer scores iTunes cards

The Coles Myer Group has scooped an exclusive deal with Apple to sell a series of pre-paid cards for its newly launched iTunes Australia music store. The announcement is another snub for the vendor's dedicated AppleCentre channel.

The cards will be available in $20, $50 and $100 denominations from any Coles Myer outlet. These include Myer, Coles and Bi-Lo supermarkets, Harris Technology, Target, Kmart, Megamart and OfficeWorks.

Coles Myer media relations spokesperson, Jim Cooper, said the exclusive in-store deal with Apple would run until February 28, 2006. The cards would also be available online via the Apple website.

Much like pre-paid mobile phone cards, customers who purchase an iTunes card will be given a pin number. This can then be use to obtain the equivalent amount of credit for songs, music clips and albums.

According to Apple, the iTunes site features more than a million music tracks as well as podcasts, audiobooks and Pixar video shorts. Songs start from $1.69, with video clips available for $3.39 and full albums for $16.99.

But although its shops would sell the cards, Coles Myer had no plans to set up an iTunes download centre in-store, Cooper said. Coles Myer claimed a third of all iPod devices were currently being sold via its Myer retail chain.

Apple public relations manager, Debbie Kruger, said it was the obvious choice given that it was Australia's largest retailer.

"This deal is in recognition of the partnership between us and Apple," Cooper said. "Myer, in particular, has been a strong distributor for the iPod range."

He would not put a figure on projected sales of the cards, but said sales in other countries had been highly successful.

Longstanding Apple resellers, including the AppleCentre chain of dealers, will not have access to the cards. AppleCentre Taylor Square manager, Ben Morgan, said he knew nothing about the deal struck between Apple and Coles Myer.

While admitting the cards would not be a big money-spinner for the channel, he was disappointed that the vendor's traditional resellers would not have the opportunity to get into the iTunes game.

"This deal amplifies Apple's lack of respect for the people who have allowed it to get to where it is today," he said. "It's not a matter of revenue. AppleCentres are supposed to be the premier Apple experience."

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