Apple announced on Tuesday the long-delayed launch of the iTunes Store, as well as the somewhat unexpected launch of iTunes Match, in Brazil. The company said it was launching the store with 20 million songs, including local content from Ivete Sangalo, Marisa Monte and the digital debut of Roberto Carlos, as well as international music from artists including The Beatles, Rihanna, and Coldplay.
The iTunes Store is also launching with “over a thousand” movies to rent or purchase, some of which are being offered in HD. 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures, The Walt Disney Studios and Warner Bros. Pictures are all on board for the rollout of movies in Brazil.
Brazil is the world’s 7th largest economy, making it the primary target for Apple in South America. The reason behind the delay has reportedly been the difficulty of managing local royalty payments, and in November is was reported that Apple had found a local solution provider to manage that process in time for a December launch.
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In addition to Brazil, Apple said that iTunes Stores are coming to 15 other South American countries, including: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.
Music on the iTunes Store is being offered in the same 256kbps, DRM-free AAC format in the the U.S. iTunes Store. Local accounts will require a valid credit card with a Brazilian billion address.