“Apple Computer Inc. launched its iTunes online music store in Japan on Thursday, bringing its leading download service to the world’s second-largest music market by album sales,” Nathan Layne reports for Reuters.
“‘We’ve got a lot of Japanese content on the store and we’ll be adding even more as the months go on,’ Apple CEO Steve Jobs told a packed news conference in Tokyo. ‘We think it’s going to set the standard for online music pricing in Japan.’ Jobs said the Japanese version of iTunes would have the market’s largest library of over 1 million songs. That is about five times as large as Mora’s collection and 10 times bigger than competing services run by Yahoo Japan Corp, Excite Japan Co. Ltd. and Oricon Inc.,” Layne reports. “Tower Records Japan Inc. and the Japanese unit of Napster Inc. announced on Thursday they would establish a music downloading service, eyeing a launch next April.”
“Apple has sold about 22 million iPods since their introduction in October 2001, making it by far the most widely used digital music player in a market research firm In-Stat expects to nearly quadruple to 104 million units a year by 2009,” Layne reports. “Apple controls about three-quarters of the U.S. market for digital music players and has a top market share of about 36 percent in Japan, although Sony has started to make some inroads in its home market with a popular flash memory device. Some analysts have cited the lack of iTunes in Japan as a major reason Sony was able to secure 27 percent of the market for flash-based players in May and June, knocking Apple’s iPod Shuffle to second place according to research firm BCN.”
Layne reports., “Apple hopes the introduction of iTunes in Japan will boost sales of the Shuffle, as well as its hard drive players. ‘Clearly this is going to create renewed interest in music by all Japanese music lovers and that’s going to bring attention to both iTunes and the iPod,” Greg Joswiak, vice president of iPod product marketing, told Reuters. ‘Overall we are hoping for the entire iPod product family to benefit from what we are doing with the music store.'”
Full article here.
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