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A Coke and a song for Kiwis

Soft-drink giant Coca-Cola teams with Loudeye to open a branded online store in New Zealand.

Digital media company Loudeye on Tuesday announced it would work with Coca-Cola to open a Coke-branded online music store in New Zealand.

The digital music service, set up jointly with a local firm, Satellite Interactive, targets customers in the island nation who would like to download global and local music using their mobile handsets.

Loudeye, based in Seattle, specializes in developing programs using handsets for music downloads. Mobile-phone handset makers such as Nokia and Panasonic have tie-ups with Loudeye. Several cellular service providers have experimented with offering such music downloads as part of their networks.

The service, dubbed CokeTunes, is similar to sites that Loudeye and Coke jointly established in several European countries over the past year, including the U.K., Ireland and Italy. CokeTunes is the soft-drink giant's first such venture in the Pacific region.

Coke has committed proceeds from the sale of every track on the new CokeTunes store to CokeTunes Music Fund, which will make quarterly grants to local young musicians.

"The CokeTunes Music Fund will also allow us to give something back to the local music community and hopefully help emerging talent from around New Zealand. We hope Kiwis will get in behind CokeTunes to help support New Zealand music," Coca-Cola New Zealand spokesperson Alison Sykora said in a statement.

Emerging musicians in New Zealand will be able to apply for the funding assistance starting in November.