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Hell Froze Over: iTunes For Windows Is Here

Hell Froze Over: iTunes For Windows Is Here

by , 3:00 PM EDT, October 16th, 2003

Apple's iTunes music management software is now available for Windows users, bringing the wildly successful iTunes Music Store (iTMS) with it. Launched six months ago, the iTMS features over 400,000 songs, and has sold over 13 million tracks for 99 cents, and that's just among Mac users. The Windows version of the iTMS will offer the same pricing, the same usage rights, and the same interface for Windows users as the Mac version. Steve Jobs introduced the service with a graphic saying "Hell Froze Over," something that brought a big laugh from the audience in San Francisco. From Apple:

Apple today launched the second generation of its revolutionary iTunes Music Store for both Mac and Windows users. The new iTunes Music Store offers Windows users the same online music store that Mac users love--with the same music catalog, the same personal use rights and the same 99 cents-per-song pricing. Since its launch six months ago, music fans have purchased and downloaded more than 13 million songs from the iTunes Music Store, making it the number one download music service in the world. With music from all five major music companies and over 200 independent music labels, the iTunes Music Store catalog is growing every day and will offer more than 400,000 songs by the end of October.

"The iTunes Music Store has revolutionized the way people legally buy music online, and now it’s available to tens of millions more music lovers with iTunes for Windows," said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. "While our competitors haven't even come close to matching our first generation, we’re already releasing the second generation of the iTunes Music Store for Mac and Windows."

Apple offers the unbeatable combination of the award-winning iTunes digital jukebox software, the pioneering iTunes Music Store and the market-leading iPod digital music player, providing music lovers with a seamless experience for buying, managing and listening to their digital music collections anywhere. Windows iPod users can now use their iPod with the award-winning iTunes digital jukebox software and enjoy the best digital music experience on any platform. iTunes for Windows includes all the same great features that made it the best digital jukebox software for the Mac--a free download with no hidden charges for extra features, MP3 and pristine quality AAC encoding from audio CDs, Smart Playlists, over 250 free Internet radio stations, and the ability to burn custom playlists to CDs and MP3 CDs, burn content to DVDs to back-up an entire music collection and share music between computers via Rendezvous over any network, cross-platform.


The new iTunes Music Store features exclusive tracks from more than 60 artists, including new exclusive tracks announced today from Black Eyed Peas, Mary J. Blige, Coldplay, The Eagles, The Grateful Dead, Ben Harper, Yo-Yo Ma, Sarah McLachlan, R.E.M., The Rolling Stones, Sting and Luther Vandross. The iTunes Music Store also debuted today a new Celebrity Playlist feature with personal playlists created by several popular featured artists including Michelle Branch, Dave Brubeck, Billy Corgan, Counting Crows, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, Ben Folds, Herbie Hancock, Jack Johnson, Kenna, Wynton Marsalis, Moby, Mark Ronson, Seal, Sting and Michael Stipe. In addition, the new iTunes Music Store features album reviews, artist biographies and essentials lists of must-have albums for artists.

The new iTunes Music Store offers another industry first--Apple’s innovative and patent-pending online "Allowance" feature which allows parents to automatically deposit funds into their kids’ iTunes Music Store account every month. This is the first time that parents can provide an alternative to illegal file sharing to their children. The new iTunes Music Store also offers online gift certificates that can be sent to friends and family via e-mail to give the gift of music to anyone.

In another pioneering move, the new iTunes Music Store now offers more than 5,000 audiobooks which can be purchased with one click and listened to on any Mac or Windows computer as well as on iPods. iTunes is the only digital jukebox that allows users to seamlessly purchase audiobooks in the same easy way that they purchase music. iTunes audiobooks are encoded with superior audio quality and feature New York Times bestsellers and popular public radio programs from NPR and PRI. In addition, the iTunes Music Store offers exclusive content not found digitally anywhere else, including "Whipping Mek," an original story by Brian Herbert and bestselling novelist Kevin J. Anderson that bridges the Legends of Dune trilogy novels "The Butlerian Jihad" and "The Machine Crusade."

The iTunes Music Store continues to offer Apple’s legendary ease of use, making it the easiest way to discover, purchase and download music online for both Mac and Windows. Users can easily search the entire music store to instantly locate any song by title, artist or album, or browse the entire collection of songs by genre, artist and album. Users can listen to free 30-second previews of any song in the store, then purchase and download their favorite songs or complete albums in pristine digital quality. Songs can be burned at no extra cost onto an unlimited number of CDs for personal use, played on up to any combination of three Mac or Windows computers, and listened to on an unlimited number of iPods.

iTunes 4.1 for Windows and Mac OS X are available now as a free download.

The Mac Observer Spin:

When Apple first launched the iTMS, Doubting Thomases said that the labels only cooperated because the Music Store was limited to the Mac market. Most of the same sources said the labels would never give the same usage rights to Windows, and that Apple was going to be SOL.

It turns out that Apple's detractors on this issue were wrong. Yet again.

We are also delighted to see Apple announce that the iTMS will have 400,000 songs by the end of this month. The company has been mum on the size of its catalog, while iTMS competitors have since launched with claims in the 250,000 - 300,000 range. Many mainstream news stories have been running the originally announced 200,000 number since the end of April, despite the fact that Apple has clearly added hundreds of songs each week, simply because the company wouldn't update that figure. Fortunately, today's announcement shows that Apple has been on the ball.

Lastly, we are also excited to see the audio books added to the iTMS. This is great service that many people have asked for, and broadens not only the iTMS's reach, but the value of the iPod. Buy a book, dump it to your iPod, and start your commute to work. That's bliss for some people.

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