According to the Financial Times, Apple has announced a deal to embed iTunes downloads into Bebo.

Keen to cash in on the runaway success of social networking, this move will increase Apple's exposure to the crucial 16- to 24-year-old age group.

Bebo, a social networking site with 8.8 million users in the UK, will offer iTunes downloads directly from band's or artist's pages, of which there are over half a million, both unsigned hopefuls and established music acts currently on Bebo.

The FT suggests that Apple is going to be trialing this in the UK, but could possibly roll the scheme out across the worldwide Bebo network with potential exposure to 33 million users.

As part of the scheme Bebo will have one free music download a week for members, the first of which will be Amy Macdonald's "Youth of Today".

This is the first time that iTunes has been linked with a social networking site and follows on from the recent Amazon and Facebook team up.