With razamatazz and hoopla a plenty, Apple launched its iTunes Music Store in the UK, France and Germany, last week, giving music fans in those regions the same large online catalogue, à la carte pricing, free previews, one-click purchasing and downloading, and personal use rights that US users have been enjoying since April 28, 2003.
The company also announced that it would launch a European Union version of the iTunes Music Store in October. Unfortunately, there is no word on an Australian store though. Oh well, last on Apple’s list again!
Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, was on hand to officially launch the store which features more than 700,000 songs from all five major music companies and dozens of independent record labels, including exclusive tracks from leading worldwide artists, such as Anastasia, Ash, The Beastie Boys, Black Eyed Peas, The Corrs, The Cure, The Darkness, Bebel Gilberto, PJ Harvey, The Hives, Norah Jones, Bob Marley, George Michael, Moby, The Pixies, and Snow Patrol.
The iTunes Music Store will also release its first ever iTunes Originals in-studio series featuring an exclusive recording session and interview clips with Alanis Morissette.
After Jobs had finished gloating about the mega-success of iTunes, he introduced five times Grammy-award winner, Alicia Keys, who did Apple proud.
“I love iTunes and have it on my computer,” she said. “I’m a big fan of older music. In tribute to Ray Charles [who passed away recently] we are just gonna have a little fun in here. We’re gonna miss Ray Charles,” she said, and launched into Night and Day.
“You know the night-time is the best time to listen to iTunes,” she joked mid-song, repeating the line at the end.
“The other thing I really love about iTunes is the fact that you can get exclusives there. I have an exclusive available on iTunes, and I’m gonna play it now,” Keys said. And she did.
Jobs must have been rubbing his hands with glee backstage — the thought of millions more paid downloads must have been irresistible.