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|