iTunes Music Store comes to Australia

Apple today launched the long-awaited iTunes Music Store in Australia, with songs priced at AU$1.69, videos at AU$3.

iTunes Australia
Apple today launched the long-awaited iTunes Music Store in Australia, with songs priced at AU$1.69, videos at AU$3.39 and most albums at AU$16.99, despite failing to come to a licensing agreement with music heavyweight Sony BMG.

Apple's iTunes vice-president Eddy Cue said in a statement the launch meant music fans in Australia would be able "to purchase their favourites with one click and have them automatically sync to their iPod". The move -- foreshadowed by ZDNet Australia last week -- finally means iPod owners can legally download music to their players, with more than one million songs available through the store.

However, Cue acknowledged to a press conference in Sydney this morning that the properties of Sony BMG Music Entertainment Australia -- whose artists include Pete Murray and Franz Ferdinand -- were not available through the iTunes Music Store. "We have all [major] labels except for Sony," he said. "We are working with Sony and we know their artists would like to be a part of the launch and we hope they will join us".

"I don't want to comment on the negotiations".

iTunes for Mac and Windows includes access to the iTunes Music Store and is available as a free download immediately from www.apple.com.au/itunes. The iTunes Music Store went live at 3am today.

Apple said personal use rights allowed users to play songs on up to five PCs, burn a single song onto CDs an unlimited number of times, burn the same playlist up to seven times and listen to their music on an unlimited number of iPods.

Australian artists feature heavily on the home page of the store, which includes local talent such as Missy Higgins, Ben Lee, Powderfinger and Kylie Minogue. Over 1,000 music videos and six short movies from Pixar Animation Studios can also be purchased at AU$3.39 for viewing on the recently released video-capable iPod.

Buying songs from the store requires a valid credit card with a billing address in the country of purchase, with customers also able to make cash purchases using music cards available from Apple and retailers such as Coles, BI-LO and Kmart.