Basic Rules of the iTMS Freebies

by Erica Sadun

  • iTMS free selections are free for a limited time, typically a week or less. They will not stay free in your cart. You must add the song to the cart and buy it during that grace period.

  • Sometimes, "free" selections...aren't. Apple forgets to turn on the "free" part for a day, or longer, or in one memorable case until the next week's selections are loaded. Always check your cart before pressing Buy.

  • You cannot "gift" free items. Not to people in your country, not internationally.

  • You cannot download free items from international stores unless you have an account specific to that store. Setting up an account usually involves both a credit card and a billing address for the card in the store's country. I do not personally have access to any store but the US one. Stores with freebies include Japan, Australia, Canada, the UK, France, and the US.

  • The Japan store's freebie updates about a day after all other stores. I no longer list the Japanese freebie because of (a) the update time difference and (b) posting with the proper Unicode listing is painful.

  • The French freebie is called the "Single de la Semaine". All the other free selections (with the exception of Japan) are marked in English as "Single of the Week". The US store often offers "Discovery Downloads" in addition to the Single of the Week and newly added TV series often have free episodes or trailers.

  • TV Shows are, to the best of my knowledge, only available in the US Store. Free videos/TV shows often show up on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday rather than Tuesday. Some stay free for a long time; most expire the next Tuesday. To spot free TV shows, visit the TV Shows area and watch the ads at the top of the iTunes page. It takes several minutes for all the ads to cycle through.

  • All free downloads use digital rights management, as would paid tracks.

  • Free tracks are usually given their own unique album page with the description of why they are the Single of the Week or a Discovery Download.

Tracking the iTMS Freebies is a volunteer effort. If you find it valuable, please say so in the comments or drop me an e-mail with your thoughts.


2006-07-04 09:29:31
Thanks so much for all your hard work. Do I actually download the freebies? Seldom. But having the information is nice. Thanks again.
Janak Parekh
2006-07-04 11:10:34
Agreed with gwm -- I've found the occasional nuggets in your listing, which is much clearer than finding it directly in the iTMS.
2006-07-04 12:59:45
copy that. pls. continue, a single place for freebies is nice.
2006-07-04 17:25:23
I appreciate your weekly ITMS freebies posting, Erica. Hope you'll continue it!
2006-07-12 02:05:09
I also appreciate your efforts and find them to be quite valuable. I used to easily forget about the weekly free iTunes songs, but now when I see your posts in my RSS reader, it's a convenient, efficient way of deciding whether or not to download them. Thankyouthankyouthankyou.