Apple Opens EU iTunes, Unveils iPod Photo
Apple is still leading the pack in taking a bite out of online music shopping search with the news that they have launched a European iTunes online music store. Shortly before Apple’s special music event on Tuesday featuring Bono and The Edge from U2, the iTunes Music Store was updated with links to allow residents of nine new European countries to buy music online. In addition to the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, iTunes now supports the rest of the European Union’s members. Apple’s Euro store will begin selling iTunes at €0.99 per song .
Neowin reports that Apple first launched the iTunes Music Store in 2003 in the United States, and in June, 2004 brought the music download service to the United Kingdom, France and Germany. This latest move opens up iTunes downloads for many other member states of the European Union — in fact, most of the original “EU15” states are now covered except for Sweden, Denmark and Ireland. Apple claims that the iTunes Music Store now reaches almost 70 percent of the global music market.
The Applie iTunes EU music download search store openings also came upon the heels of the news that Apple is releasing their newest iTunes toy – iPod Photo. iPod Photo is an enhanced version of iPod, which would let users share and view images. It is more of a multimedia device, which comes up with a colored screen unlike normal iPod and has higher storage capacities of 40GB and 60GB. The prices are on the higher side ranging from $499 to $599.
$500 for a device that let us share images and hear songs could be perceived as a bit high. Considering an iBook cost 1000 dollars, users might find these prices a little too much. If apple can incorporate video playing capabilities in the near future, it has another winner at hand. It still leads the digital music player market comprehensively with more than 6 million iPods sold.
Search Engines and Music Downloads
A recent study by HitWise showed that search engines are fueling the online hip-hop, rock, country and polka industries. 30.4 percent of U.S. visits to music retail Web sites in July 2004 resulted directly from search-engines and directories. July 2004 visits to music retailers from search engines and directories have grown by 49.0 percent versus the same period a year ago.
How are search engines reacting to these numbers? Yahoo has already purchased MusicMatch while partnering with Napster, Google and Real Networks are working together in download distribution, and MSN is getting into the music download business. It’s only a matter of time before Apple’s iTunes strikes up a deal with a Google or Ask.
TechWhack’s Sushubh Mittal Contributed to this story.