Australian news magazine Australian IT is reporting that an Australian version of Appleis iTunes Music Store will be opening in Q1 of 2004. The magazine cites unnamed "industry sources" in its story, which is ostensibly about a joint venture between Microsoft and Australian company Ninemsn opening up its own online music service, which is also expected to launch next year. From Australian IT:
MICROSOFTiS Ninemsn joint venture [is] announcing plans to offer music downloads from early next year, with industry sources tipping it will be joined by an Australian version of Appleis iTunes in the first quarter of 2004.
The partnership will also provide music from independent labels such as Ministry of Sound and Beggars Banquet as part of a 250,000 track catalogue. Tracks will be available in Windows Media format. Ninemsn managing director Martin Hoffman said the company would also attempt to secure agreements with Australian-based independent labels.
Apple declined to comment on when its service might be available in Australia, but sources indicate that the company has been in local negotiations with record companies, music publishers and rights bodies. Those negotiations should bear fruit in the first quarter of next year, when Apple will extend the iTunes Music Store to a number of markets beyond the US, sources said.
The magazine also cites an analyst who questions the joint ventureis choice of Windows Media Player as the format for downloads. The analyst suggests that the failure of similar Windows Media 9-based services so far in the States doesnit bode well for a WM9 service in Aussieland.
Thereis more information in the full article, and we recommend it as an interesting read.