Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, has just announced the launch of iTunes for Europeans (UK, France, Germany). iTunes is a online music store, allowing PC and Mac users to download their songs legally. The service had previously launched in the US with a $0.99 price tag; since it's launch Apple claim to have sold ~ 70 million songs.
The UK launch, today, sees songs available at Â£.79, and albums at $7.99 (.99 Euros in France and Germany, 9.99 for an album). Although a reasonable price (much cheaper than high street retailers like HMV), cynics might notice that the exchange rate being what is, the price should really be closer to Â£.55. The EU store will (like the US) also offer gift certificates ranging from Â£5 - Â£100.
At the launch, Jobs extolled the virtues of the new release, highlighting localised version for France and Germany, exclusive music, artist's playlists, and the ability to burn tracks to CD. Also on offer are audio books. He also took the time to show off Apple's recently launched Airport Express, and it's tight integration with iTunes. The store now claims to have 700,000 from both main stream and indepedent artists. To finish the launch, Jobs welcomed Alicia Keys onto the stage; Keys played 'Night and Day', and commented on how much she loved iTunes. The store is now open to English, French, and Germany customers.
iTunes faces competition from Napster in the UK, who have recently announced a partnership with NTL. Apple, however, view their main competition as music piracy, and Jobs highlighted this in the launch.
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