One million downloads for new iTunes store in Japan

Downloads at Apple’s iTunes Music Store have reached a million tunes in Japan in just four days, the company said on Monday.

Apple Computer, which has scored a hit in Japan with its iPod portable music player, started its music download service in Japan last Thursday with one million songs.

The service is undercutting some of the online music services now available in Japan.

Most iTunes songs, which include international and Japanese artists, cost 150 yen ($1,35; â,¬1,10; R8,70) each, and only 10% of the songs cost 200 yen ($1,80;

â,¬1,50; R11,50).

Japanese are accustomed to paying up to twice that much although the rates are slightly more than the 99 cents charged in the United States version of the service.

Apple has not signed a deal with Sony’s music division, which has some of the most popular Japanese singers and bands under its label. Sony Music Entertainment says it’s still in talks with Apple.

Sony has been struggling to maintain profits and sales in its core electronics division in recent years. One of its biggest fumbles was falling behind the iPod in portable players with hard drives.
The Tokyo-based electronics and entertainment company has powerful competing CD and MD businesses.

The iTunes service accounts for 82% of all legally downloaded music in the United States. Apple has sold 21,8-million iPods worldwide since it went on sale in October 2001, and more than 500-million songs through its iTunes music store.

With the addition of Japan, iTunes music store is now available in 20 nations, reaching 85% of the global music market, according to Apple. - Sapa-AP

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