Apple Sells One Million Songs on iTMS Japan in Four Days

One million songs have been sold on the iTunes Music Store (iTMS) Japan in the four days since its launch, Apple Computer announced Sunday.

The announcement came just days after Apple launched its Japanese music service, the worldis second biggest music market. The Japanese version of the iTMS launched with one million songs priced at either ?150 (US$1.35) or ?200 ($1.80) each. Some 90% of the songs on the new service are priced at ?150, Apple has said.

"iTunes has sold twice as many songs in just four days as all the other online music services in Japan sell in one month," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a prepared statement.

Apple has touted the fact the store launched with local songs from globe and Ulfuls, exclusives from Def Tech, Crazy Ken Band, Chara, Little Creatures, Chie Ayado and The Complete Biz digital box set. The online music store also features exclusives from U2, Jack Johnson and Bj?rk, and more than 10,000 audiobooks, including works by Japanese authors.

The Japanese version of the iTMS features podcasts, a feature added to the music store in its other markets in iTunes 4.9.

As with the North American and European iTunes Music Stores, Japanese customers are required to use a credit card for song downloads, though Apple is also offering iTunes Music Cards for cash purchases.

Japan has long been one of Appleis most important markets, and the iPod has performed well, even though Japan is Sonyis home turf. It is the iTMS, however, that has been one of the main catalysts for the growth in iPod sales, and the launch of a Japanese version has been seen as crucial for Apple.

The iron-clad stranglehold the Japanese recording industry has on that countryis market has long been thought the principal reason behind the long wait for a Japanese iTMS. In Japan, the labels control the vast majority of the acts, what music those acts record, and in some cases, where that music gets played. Those labels, and all of the other players involved, have wanted as big a piece of Appleis iTMS pie as possible.

In addition, there were also concerns that CD sales would be eroded by easily-available digital downloads, the same kinds of concerns that US labels had before the launch of the iTMS in this market.

All of those obstacles appear to have been overcome, however, as demonstrated in the news of one million sales in four days.

iTunes Music Store Key Dates
April 28, 2003 Apple Launches iTunes Music Store
May 5, 2003 One million songs sold on iTMS
May 14, 2003 Two million songs sold on iTMS
June 23, 2003 Five million songs sold on iTMS
September 8, 2003 Ten million songs sold on iTMS
October 16, 2003 Apple & Pepsi launch giveaway of 100 million free songs
October 20, 2003 One million copies of iTunes for Windows downloaded in less than four days
November 6, 2003 1.5 million songs sold on iTMS in one week
December 15, 2003 25 million songs sold on iTMS
March 15, 2004 50 million songs sold on iTMS
April 28, 2004 Over 70 million songs sold on iTMS
May 5, 2004 3.3 million songs sold on iTMS in one week
June 15, 2004 Apple launches iTMS in UK, France Germany
June 23, 2004 iTMS in Europe sells 800,000 songs in first week
July 12, 2004 100 million songs sold on iTMS
August 10, 2004 iTMS catalog tops one million songs
October 14, 2004 150 million songs sold on iTMS
October 26, 2004 Apple launches iTMS in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain
December 2, 2004 Apple launches iTMS in Canada
December 16, 2004 200 million songs sold on iTMS
January 6, 2005 Apple launches iTMS in Ireland
January 24, 2005 250 million songs sold on iTMS
March 2, 2005 300 million songs sold on iTMS
April 13, 2005 350 million songs sold on iTMS
May 10, 2005 Apple launches iTMS in Denmark, Norway, Sweden & Switzerland
May 10, 2005 400 million songs sold on iTMS
July 17, 2005 500 million songs sold on iTMS
August 4, 2005 Apple launches iTMS in Japan
August 8, 2005 1 million songs sold on iTMS Japan in first four days

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