PURCHASE, New York: PepsiCo is set to team up with online retailer Amazon in a year-long US scheme to give away up to one billion free digital music tracks, a move seen as a challenge to rivals Coca-Cola Company and Apple Computer.

The promotion - based on consumers collecting five tokens from Pepsi drinks in order to download one track - is due to start in February, coinciding with the Super Bowl.

Reports suggest the downloads will not employ the sort of digital rights management technology used by Apple - and also championed by the music industry - which restricts where legally-downloaded tracks can be played.

Pepsi and Apple ran a similar promotion together in 2003, offering some 100 million free tracks. Amazon's own downloads service has taken around 3% of the digital music marketplace, compared with a figure of around 80% enjoyed by Apple.

Music companies Universal and EMI, neither of which use DRM technology, are seen as the two most likely candidates to sign up for the new scheme.

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff