As part of Starbucks’ plans for promoting its partnership with Apple’s new iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, the coffee-seller will give away 50 million free digital songs to customers in all of its U.S. stores.

Starting on October 2nd and running through November 7th Starbucks baristas will dish out free “Song Of The Day” download cards featuring 37 artists. Included among the 37 are the first two artists to sign with Starbucks’ Hear Music label – Paul McCartney and Joni Mitchell. Other artists included on the great download giveaway are KT Tunstall, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Annie Lennox and Band Of Horses. The first song to be given away will be Bob Dylan’s “Joker Man.”

October 2nd is the same day the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store makes its exclusive debut in more than 600 Starbucks shops in New York and Seattle. By distributing free downloads in more than 10,000 Starbucks locations throughout the country, the company says it will give away 1.5 million downloads on iTunes per day, totaling more than 50 million freebies by the time the promotion ends.

“This is a landmark moment for Starbucks,” Starbucks Entertainment President Ken Lombard said. “With the launch of the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store at Starbucks we can now provide the same classic coffeehouse experience and compelling music offerings our customers have come to expect from us through a new platform ideal for the digital music consumer. This is the first step in combining the power of brick-and-mortar-retail and digital music.”

Downloading The Peacock

It’s been two years since Apple introduced the video iPod and started selling TV programs on its iTunes Music Store, introducing the biggest change in the way people watch TV since Sony introduced the Betamax VCR in 1975.

But television networks are still trying to figure out the best way to promote, distribute and sell programming via the Net. Should they give programs away for free in hopes that doing so entices viewers to tune in? Or should they charge viewers for what they’re already getting for free, by selling programs on iTunes or on network Web sites.

NBC combines those methods by allowing people to download individual episodes for free from the Network’s new NBC Direct service. At NBC Direct, viewers can download episodes of certain programs for up to seven days after they air on the network.

Because viewers need special software to view the shows, NBC maintains control over how their downloaded programs will be seen. In this case, NBC embeds commercials viewers can not skip over. The files also expire seven days after the programs originally aired. Future plans include the ability to transfer the programs to portable viewing devices and distribute high-definition files via peer-to-peer networks.

But free downloads with commercials is only one way NBC is making its programs available for downloading. The network is also selling commercial-free downloads of some of its programs on its Web site. The network used to sell programs on iTunes, but parted with the online store when the network couldn’t come to terms with Apple over pricing.

However, the Internet isn’t the only way NBC has been experimenting with making its programming available everywhere but in a TV Guide schedule. Comcast OnDemand subscribers were recently able to watch several pilot episodes, such as “Chuck,” “Bionic Woman,” and “Journeyman” weeks before their official NBC debuts. When you add that to NBC’s new download plans, is there any reason must see TV must be seen per TV’s schedule?