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AOL to put software on music CDs

In an effort to expand its brand, the online service will add its software to Sony Music CDs, starting with titles by Michael Bolton and Celine Dion.

If listening to Michael Bolton gives you that sudden urge to, well, go online, then America Online (AOL) has just the thing for you.

Leave it to the online giant known for its ubiquitous free discs found everywhere from airplanes to magazines to find yet another way to distribute its software: through music CDs.

AOL today announced that it will start putting its sign-up software on Sony Music CDs.

The first to include the AOL software will be Michael Bolton's All That Matters and Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love.

That means anyone listening to those CDs on their computers can simply double-click on the handy icon to sign up for AOL, the No. 1 online service. The sign-up includes 50 free hours.

The CD also will give users an icon that will allow them to go directly to the Web site, once they log on.

The agreement is part of an effort by AOL to extend its brand.

"This agreement with Sony Music demonstrates the power of cobranding in the interactive medium," Bob Pittman, president and CEO of AOL Networks, said in a statement.

"When consumers purchase an audio CD, the experience ends at their stereo. Sony Music CDs with AOL software will expand the entire experience by providing music consumers with more--including music videos and information."

Pittman, incidentally, cofounded MTV.