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Japanese iTunes Music Store on August 4th?

It could be near the launch of the Japanese iTunes Music Store. To raise suspicion that the opening of the last, big digital music store is imminent the invitation sent by Apple Japan to journalists of that country for an event that will be held on August 4th. According to some American sites that mention the story, the invitation does not contain specific details on the merit of the meeting, but letting it be known that there is talk of music difficult to think of other than the debut of the local version of iTunes.

The opening of the Japanese store is considered a step of great strategic importance for Apple, of the same magnitude as the one that last autumn brought to the launch of European stores and this not only because the music market of the Asian country among the most important in the world, according to some data, second only to the US domestic one, but for the beneficial effects that the iPod market would have.

At the moment Apple's player in Japan as elsewhere at the top of sales, but without the support of a reference music store, it is more difficult than in other countries. It is these days, for example, the news that Sony's Walkman flashes have won the first place in their category, a decidedly unusual and linked, in the opinion of observers, to the fact that Japanese music lovers cannot (or if you prefer, they must) buy digital music from iTunes if they are looking for a music catalog on the Internet.

Apple has long been engaged in negotiations with Japanese music labels to acquire the rights to their catalogs. Finding an agreement seemed immediately more laborious than elsewhere since the publishers of the land of the rising sun have fewer incentives than elsewhere to open up to digital music for the low level of piracy and for the choice, partly rewarded by the market, to cultivate in independently, going on the market with proprietary shops and linked exclusively to their own production house, the music trade.

A second factor that made it difficult to launch the Japanese store was the fixed-price policy for each song, one of the cornerstones of Apple's strategy. Japanese labels have always been very reluctant to embrace this strategy.

The result is a local market that developed in a very particular way, with small realities that operate on limited portions of music catalogs in some cases restricted to one or two labels and with variable and very high prices, even 320 Yen per track, about 2 ,50 euros. At the moment, the sale of music on the Internet, also due to the possibility of renting CDs, a practice that outside of Japan is not considered legal and that allows you to have large quantities of music at low prices without buying records, has a limited impact and the numbers achieved are not equal to the potential expressed by the local market.

The debut of the iTunes Music Store in this context could have a destructive effect and project the popularity, already very high, of Apple products, or represent a risk factor for Apple that may not be able to have the same incentive factors that made him popular elsewhere. Cupertino is betting on the first aspect and for this reason it has focused a lot on the launch of the Japanese store that hopes it can contribute substantially to the not entirely remote prospect of bringing the record of songs sold to a billion within a period of time not too long .

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