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Some iTunes special promotions aren't so special

Apple highlighted nine indie songs that iTunes offered for 69 cents. The discerning shopper can pick up at least five of the tunes for free elsewhere.

Apple isn't offering much savings for consumers in an iTunes promotion of indie music.

Screen shot of iTunes spotlight on indie artists. Screen shot by Greg Sandoval/CNET

On iTunes homepage today, Apple posted an ad linking to a list of nine songs from independent artists, including "Too Much" from Sufjan Stevens, "Golden Haze" from Wild Nothing, and "Revival" from Deerhunter.

According to the blog Digital Audio Insider, a Web search found that the first five songs are available for free elsewhere on the Web.

"The first five tracks are all songs the respective artists and record companies are already giving away online," DAI wrote. "The Sufjan Stevens track is a freebie at his Bandcamp page. Songs from Wild Nothing and Deerhunter are authorized free downloads at Pitchfork."

Apple reported $42 billion in revenue last year, so it's hard for me to believe iTunes managers did this intentionally. A company representative didn't respond to an interview request.

Apparently, the lesson here is that it pays to shop around regardless of how many bells and whistles surround a promotion.

Regardless of the retailer, "special promotions" often prove not to be very special.