iTMS Opens in Japan, Rolls Some Stones -- Apple Computer got some satisfaction for its iTunes Music Store, announcing not only the debut of the Japanese version of iTMS but also the worldwide availability of early Abkco catalog recordings, which includes early rock 'n roll classics from The Animals, Sam Cooke, Herman's Hermits, Marianne Faithful, and the Rolling Stones. The iTunes Music Store is now the only online music service with the complete catalog of the Rolling Stones.
The Japanese version of the iTunes Music Store reportedly features more than 1 million tracks, including songs from popular Japanese acts such as Little Creatures, Chara, and Crazy Ken Band, alongside Japanese radio shows and podcasts. Over a dozen Japanese companies are providing music for the Japanese version of iTMS, along with international distributors, and Apple plans to offer more Japanese content in the months ahead. Songs on the Japanese version of iTMS sell for 150 or 200 yen (roughly US$1.35 / $1.80). Apple announced this week that the new store sold more than 1 million songs in its first four days of operation. Apple hopes the introduction of the Japanese version of iTMS will spur sales of iPod music players, particularly the iPod shuffle. Unlike the rest of the world - where the iPod is the utterly dominant portable music player - it merely leads the pack in Japan, accounting for about 36 percent of the market while rival Sony has managed to secure about 27 percent of the market for flash-based music players. [GD]