MSN Music to offer free songs

Microsoft's music channel is offering free downloads of Grammy-nominated tunes this week.

Microsoft's MSN Music on Monday announced it would offer free downloads of some songs in the running for Grammy awards this year.

From Tuesday through Saturday, the company will offer one download per day. The songs will be selected by the editorial team at MSN Music, which will pick the tracks they think will win the Grammy in several categories.

On Tuesday, MSN will offer its picks for best pop vocal performance, male and female. The following four days, the company will give away its choice for the "best song" in four categories: rock (on Wednesday), rap (Thursday), R&B (Friday), and country (Saturday).

The music download market is dominated by Apple Computer's iTunes store. In a bid to challenge this domination, Microsoft last year launched its music service. Both companies offer songs for 99 cents each.

MSN said that only one free song download will be allowed per person per day. The offer is open to U.S. residents who are at least 18 years old. Microsoft also said music fans will need to sign up for an MSN music account and provide a credit card number.

The Grammys will be doled out on Feb. 13. Click here to see a list of nominees.