Apple is quietly ramping up its campaign of pre-release streams for big albums on iTunes. Justin Timberlake is the latest artist to benefit, with his ‘The 20/20 Experience’ album getting a week of free streaming on the iTunes Store, alongside a $10.99 pre-order offer. It’s part of a campaign that has some US industry folk predicting at least 500k sales of the album in the week after its release on 19 March, which would put it alongside Mumford & Sons, One Direction and Taylor Swift in the last year or so. Jack White, Local Natives and David Bowie have all been the focus of iTunes pre-release streams since the start of 2012, showing that Apple’s interest in such promotions extends further than merely warning labels off running them with Spotify. That said, such exclusives still fit into a wider release pattern: Bowie’s ‘The Next Day’ went live on streaming services yesterday, the same day as its CD and download release.

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