There was surprise expressed when Apple quietly dropped its annual 12 Days of Christmas promotion this past year, just one year after it first reached the US. The app provided a free digital gift–which could be a song, app, book, TV show or movie–for each of 12 days, starting on December 26th.

A number of our readers noticed that it has now apparently done the same with the Single of the Week, which has offered a free music track on iTunes every week since 2004. No track was offered last week, and a participant in a support communities thread spotted by Business Insider says he’s been told by an Apple employee that the promotion has been discontinued … 

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If Apple has indeed ended the promotion, rather than it falling victim to a technical glitch, it seems an odd decision. Single of the Week was a win-win-win for consumers, artists and Apple alike. Consumers got free music, artists got exposure (with a link to buy the album right next to the free track) and Apple got the goodwill that stems from giving away free stuff.

We’ve asked Apple to comment, and will update if we hear back. The good news is that–for now, at least–the Free App of the Week lives on.

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