Shortly before 11am this morning (at 3.55am Italian time between Wednesday and Thursday) the Japanese iTunes Music Store was born.
Today in Tokyo, at Hall A of the Tokyo International Forum, Steve Jobs was announced to the local press the expected opening of the Japanese iTMS.
Apple's digital music store in the Land of the Rising Sun now operating with a catalog of 1 million songs for sale with two price classes: 150 yen (1.09 euro) and 200 yen (1.45 euro). The albums cost between 1,000 and 2,000 yen (7.26 – 14.53 euros). Not yet clear what is the criterion for dividing the songs between the two prices.
It is to be hoped that the trend of the two prices will not "take" even outside the Japanese music store.
Twenty countries and 85% of the global music market, the one reached by the iTunes Music Store.
"We hope that even in Japan music lovers will welcome the iTunes Music Store as they welcomed it to the rest of the world" was the statement by Steve Jobs.
Several record companies have joined the Apple digital music store, but not Sony Music Entertainment, currently there are no artists of the Japanese giant in the iTunes of this country where Cupertino executives failed to agree with Sony in time for the launch of iTMS.
But the battle between Apple and Sony continues also on the hardware side, Jobs said on this occasion that while in the last quarter the PSP sold 2 million pieces, an iPod sold 6.2 million.
The local ranking of digital hard disk based players, compiled by GFK Marketing Services, sees the iPod in first, second and fourth position, Sony's Network Walkman are in third and fifth position.
Cupertino cites the Abkco catalog with classic artists like Sam Cooke, The Animals, but above all the Rolling Stones. The group of Mick Jagger available therefore exclusively on the iTunes Music Store among online services around the world.In this moment it would be possible to pre-order their album "A Bigger Bang" with an exclusive video.
The Japanese debut "seasoned" with a lot of local music, the following names are cited by Apple: Ulfuls, Def Tech, Crazy Ken Band, Chara, Little Creatures, Chie Ayado and the complete collection of B'z (340 songs for 18,800 yen, or ? 136.60).
After only a quarter of an hour from the opening of iTMS Japan, the Apple site already provided a sales ranking that saw B'z's "Arigato" as a sales success.
New availability of audio books also in Japanese, which together with those in English total 10,000 titles.
What is missing is the possibility of seeing music videos from the Japanese iTunes Music Store, we do not know the reasons but we must suppose that the contrasts with the Japanese publishers have forced Apple to this limitation (in addition to the double price of the songs ).
In addition to the United States, Japan will also be able to take advantage of the pre-paid iTunes Music Card, sold at local resellers Sofmap, Yamada, BIC Camera, Amazon Japan, Kojima and Yodobashi Camera as well as the AppleStores already opened in that country.
Online these cards to be bought with cash are available through AppleStore and Amazon Japan, the denominations are from 2,500 and 5,000 and 10,000 yen (18,16, 36,32 and 72,64 euros), respectively in green, fuchsia and blue.
The Japanese iTMS, as also happens in a massive way on the US one and in a more moderate way on the British, French and Canadian one, gives one song a week, for the available opening "Wamono" by Hifana.
Japanese podcasts can already be heard, the first to offer were InterFM, Sotokoto and Radio Nikkei.
To celebrate the Japanese ITMS, the month of live music will start at Shibuya's new Apple Store, which will open in Tokyo on Saturday, with local artists performing live.
At the Japanese presentation I climbed on the stage Beck for some Canatana songs and played with the guitar.