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iTunes rival seeks to crash party

A leading Australian music download provider has slashed its prices to AU$0.89 per track in an effort to deflate the local launch of iTunes Music Store.

iTunes Australia
A leading Australian music download provider has slashed its prices to AU$0.89 per track in an effort to deflate the local launch of iTunes Music Store.

DestraMusic.com, which powers the online music download sites of retailers such as Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Chaos Music, ABC and more, will sell songs for AU$0.89 cents each until the end of November, down from AU$1.89 each.

The Apple iTunes Music Store sells tracks for AU$1.69. DestraMusic.com music files are sent as copy-protected Windows Media files, which means they're incompatible with iPods.

DestraMusic.com's price cut has been the most extreme reaction from Australia's established music download providers, with most cautiously welcoming the iTunes launch as a boost for the nascent industry as a whole.

Soundbuzz Australia general manager Paul Buchanan says he expects the entire music download market to expand, citing anecdotal evidence from international record labels that show sales increases of between 25 percent and 50 percent across the board in markets where iTunes has launched.

Buchanan has, however, ruled out any price cuts, saying his company would ''not have any kneejerk reaction to iTunes". Soundbuzz powers the music download sites of Telstra BigPond, Optus and Creative, and currently sells songs for AU$1.49 from its own site.