Apple launches iTunes Music Store in Japan

Apple today launched its iTunes Music Store in Japan, giving music fans the same innovative features, pricing, seamless integration with iPod and groundbreaking personal use rights that have made iTunes the number one online music service in the world. With one million songs priced at just ¥150 and ¥200 per song, plus Apple’s legendary ease of use and pioneering features such as built-in support for Podcasting, the iTunes Music Store in Japan is the best way for Mac and PC users to legally discover, purchase and download music online. The iTunes Music Store is the number one online music store with over 500 million songs purchased and downloaded worldwide, and works seamlessly with iPod, the world’s most popular digital music player with over 21 million sold.

“iTunes and iPod are leading the digital music revolution,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO in the press release. “We are thrilled to be bringing the iTunes Music Store to Japan, and hope music fans here love it as much as others around the world do.”

The iTunes Music Store in Japan debuts with local favorites including iTunes Originals from globe and Ulfuls, exclusives from Def Tech, Crazy Ken Band, Chara, Little Creatures, Chie Ayado and The Complete B’z digital box set. Other iTunes exclusives released today include music from international artists such as U2, Jack Johnson and Björk, and over 10,000 audiobooks are available, including works by Japanese authors.

With iTunes 4.9, listeners have everything they need to discover, subscribe, manage and listen to Podcasts built right in. The iTunes Music Store in Japan is launching with a wide variety of Japanese-language Podcasts, such as InterFM, Sotokoto and Radio Nikkei.

In celebration of the iTunes Music Store launch in Japan, Apple is hosting live music performances throughout August at all four retail locations in Japan, including the new Apple Store Shibuya which opens August 6.

Apple today also announced the worldwide availability of early Abkco catalog titles from classic artists such as Sam Cooke and The Animals, as well as the Rolling Stones, making the iTunes Music Store the only online music service in the world to feature the complete digital music catalog of the Rolling Stones. iTunes is offering music fans worldwide the opportunity to pre-order a special version of the new Rolling Stones album “A Bigger Bang” with an exclusive bonus video.

iTunes for Mac and Windows includes the iTunes Music Store and is available as a free download immediately from:

Purchase and download of songs from the iTunes Music Store for Mac or Windows requires a valid credit card with a billing address in the country of purchase. Music fans in Japan have the option to use iTunes Music Cards for cash purchases on the iTunes Music Store. iTunes Music Cards are available at Sofmap, Yamada, BIC Camera, Amazon Japan, Kojima, Yodobashi Camera as well as through the Apple Store and Apple’s retail stores.
Sony can’t be happy about this…

Related articles:
Apple’s Japan iTunes Music Store debut more bad news for Sony – August 04, 2005
Report: Apple CEO Steve Jobs to debut iTunes Music Store Japan ‘in a matter of hours’ – August 03, 2005
iTunes Music Store Japan? Apple to hold ‘special music event’ in Tokyo on August 4 – July 26, 2005
Apple to launch iTunes Music Store in Japan this August – July 15, 2005
Sony grabs Japan flash-based music player lead from Apple ahead of Japanese iTunes Music Store – July 14, 2005
Reports: Apple to launch Japanese iTunes Music Store in ‘near future’ – April 13, 2005


  1. Hey, I’ve got a brilliant idea! Why doesn’t Apple put the *actual* release dates of the albums on iTMS instead of the completely useless and confusing dates they list now. Who would have thought that almost all the Rolling Stones albums were released in 1994?

  2. Question…

    All these music stores in different countries, Is it possible say, for someone in the one country to access music (or at least browse and listen to samples) from another country. Someone above mentioned the Japanesse music is beautiful which I’m sure it is. But to I have to travel to Japan to listen to some of it ?

    I’m just saying, in the mainstream we often don’t get to listen to a lot of foreign music and the iTunes Music Stores that will eventually pop up all over the world would be a good way of experiencing music from everywhere. Instead of the usual english speaking stuff we normaly get. That is if you’re from the US, UK or OZ.

  3. Wow, this is the first time they have not had uniform pricing. I guess a lot of compromises had to be made to finally get it out the door. The 200 yen price sucks and I will do my best to boycott those songs to put the pressure on to have the all be 150 yen (which, tho a little high, is much more in the acceptable range).

    Since I have a US Credit card I will continue to mostly buy for the states tho and only pick up some local talent once in a while at the Japan ITMS.

    I want to support it but it really sucks that they got their screw-over-the-Japanese-consumer pricing pushed through. That happens all too often over here.

    All that said, I think this will really help out Apple in Japan and that is all good.

  4. Oh, and by the time Napster debuts in Japan “in a year’s time,” Apple will have a complete stranglehold on the market there. Napster and Tower Records might as well hang it up on based on this announcement. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  5. > Would be nice if you could get songs from another country’s store.

    This will eventually happen in the European stores, since Apple’s current practice of stopping someone in one EU country from buying from another EU country’s store is illegal (doesn’t matter if the labels insist upon it, that clause itself wouldn’t be valid and Apple would win if they took the labels to court over it).

    It’s really a shame that the record companies are so short sighted when it comes to allowing buyers from other country’s. I’d really love to be able to order from other country’s stores, not necessarily for price reasons, but simply because some of the music i like can’t be purchased in the UK store.

    Anyone know the deal with these ITunes Music Cards? Could i, say, purchase a Japanese card from Apple online using a UK credit card and then use the Music card to purchase from the Japanese iTMS?

  6. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”snake” style=”border:0;” />

    I can no longer remain silent.


    Someone name the Label that has held up the opening of Australia’s ITMS!

  7. From MacRumors:

    > Price Waterhouse have released a report “PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Global Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2005-2009”
    It says
    > Protracted negotiations are preventing launch and costing the music industry in Oz dearly
    > SonyBMG has kept iTMS out of the Australian market
    > ITMS (good legal downloads) help reduce piracy…and so SonyBMG are hence partly responsible for the increase in piracy
    > SonyBMG wants Apple to increase the number of digital formats supported by the store. This includes WMA and Sony’s own ATRAC formats
    > Stuff about radios taking market share but I dont think the author really has come to grips with podcasting – at least its not mentioned in the article.

  8. To be honest, I don’t understand Apple’s approach to the iTunes Music Store. One version for each country just seems silly to me. It makes their lives very complicated, and severely restricts their market.

    At the company I work for we have just one store which serves music globally. We deal with the problem of rights restrictions by not allowing people to buy material we don’t have rights to sell in their country. We launched in Japan the day we launched in the UK. A great deal of material on our site has no restrictions at all.

    We also sell plain MP3s, usually at 256kbit, with no pesky DRM. Course that means that the 4 major labels don’t put stuff on our site, but we’ve still got over 3000 labels on board.

    Having said all that the iTMS design is pretty good (much better than ours) and the integration with iTunes is handy, even if it does mean it’s Mac and Windows only. The fact that local stores also use the local language is also very nice, which we also don’t do at the moment.

    Just in case you want to check us out go to

  9. > Anyone know the deal with these ITunes Music Cards? Could i, say,
    > purchase a Japanese card from Apple online using a UK credit card and
    > then use the Music card to purchase from the Japanese iTMS?

    To answer my own question it seems that in order to purchase an iTunes Music Card you need to be registered at that country’s iTMS, and in order to register you need to either have a CC in that country or a Music Card. Catch-22.

    Seems like the thing to do is form an international ring where there’s at least one member from each iTMS country who will accept payment from others and purchase the cards.

    Stupid Apple and record companies.

  10. Yes it is excellent news that there is now an iTMS in Japan, I am really happy about it ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />.

    As for Australia and New Zealand IMO you’re next, with OZ first followed closely by NZ. Just hang in there, Antarctica- well a store for just a few scientists to keep them happy, but yeah nice one, like it! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”LOL” style=”border:0;” />

    After OZ and NZ I think that Mexico and South Africa are on the list. Since both these countries do have their own music talent as well as a decent enough economy for the income/expenditure ratio to make it worthwhile.

    Other countries though not likely, but I would love to be proven wrong, are countries like Boliviar, Chile, Peru and Colombia. Brazil though to my mind has a good chance. Israel has good chance as does Turkey.

    There is no point in opening a store where the majority of the population has less than one dollar a month income to spend.

    Apple would love to have one single worldwide store, but the main powers that being the record companies won’t have that, yes in the EU and as I live in the EU I should and could buy goods from any member state.

    This single EU iTMS store will only come to fruition once we here in the UK change to the Euro, if we ever do? I think it is that factor which is making it impossible for a single pan European store from opening.

    Yes okay there is a possiblity of having a single EU iTMS + the UK store and if the record companies allow it any EU citizen can access both.

    That’ll make other countries that have a store like the USA and Canada green with envy or red with anger as neither citizens can access the others store.

    Another factor is down to pricing and exchange rates between the Euro € and GBP £ where one rate favours the other it will become unfair to the other resident that it does not favour. Same for US$ verses C$ rates. Complicated – very!

    One or the other will end up paying more, though that is pretty much the case already as here in the UK we pay higher prices for goods and in most cases for no reason other than pure profiteering.

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