Apple, Warner Bros. Team Up in iTunes Pact

Apple Computer’s iTunes Music Store added six new shows from Warner Bros. Entertainment Tuesday, including the first season of the hit show Friends and the sci-fi series Babylon 5.

Also added Tuesday were the first seasons of classic Warner Bros. cartoons The Flintstones and The Jetsons. Warner Bros. also made available the pilot episode of a new DC Comics series Aquaman, and highlights from the comedy show MADtv’s eighth, ninth and 10th seasons. All episodes sell for US$1.99 each, and can be played on the iTunes application or on video-enabled iPods.

Tuesday also saw one of the biggest early opponents of digital music piracy finally make its catalog available online. The works of Metallica, one of the world’s all-time best-selling hard rock acts, were uploaded onto iTunes, with each song selling for US$0.99. The group’s early and vocal opposition to Napster’s file-sharing software, before it was reincarnated as a legitimate rival to iTunes, gives Apple’s service a further nod of legitimacy as the conduit of choice for legal digital music.

However, the group’s 1993 three-CD live box set, Live Sh*t: Binge and Purge, and its 1999 double-disc collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony, S&M, were not included in Tuesday’s releases, although single tracks appear as bonus tracks on some of the albums offered.

-Steven Schwankert, IDG News Service (Beijing Bureau)

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