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Rockstar brings Amazon MP3 downloads to GTA 4

In an attempt to capitalise on the Grand Theft Auto series' popular in-game radio feature, Rockstar has teamed up with Amazon to create a totally new way of distributing media.

According to both companies, a new technology called, rather bizarrely, 'ZiT' uses the game's mobile phone feature and lets gamers dial a number on their in-game handset to receive a text message detailing the artist and track title. For those people that sign up on Rockstar's Social Club, the gamer will receive an email after the text message is sent with a link to the song in the Amazon MP3 store.

The record labels love it

"Music has long played an integral part of the game playing experience," said Ronn Werre, executive vice president of EMI Music's Sales, Licensing and Synchronization unit, in a statement. "We think giving players the ability to identify and buy their favorite tracks from Grand Theft Auto IV's popular radio stations is a great new music discovery tool for fans and an innovative new revenue stream for artists."

The game's soundtrack reportedly includes over 150 songs and according to Amazon, each will be priced at about $0.89 to $0.99 (50 pence) per track.