Itunes plus

This article is about the online media vendor. For the software application, see iTunes.

iTunes Store
300px
iTunes Store shown inside iTunes 11 (2012)
Opened April 28, 2003
Pricing model À la carte, tiered; limited time rentals available for some movies
Platforms OS X, Windows, Apple TV, iOS
Format Unprotected AAC (.m4a) @ 256 kbit/s (music), protected AAC (.m4p) @ 32, 64 and 128 kbit/s (audiobooks), unprotected MPEG-4 Video (.m4v) (music videos), protected MPEG-4 Video (.m4v) (other video)
Restrictions (Protected) Music: streaming to five computers every 24 hours, unlimited CDs (seven with an unchanged playlist), unlimited iPods and iPhones.
Catalogue 28,000,000+ songs worldwide, 1,000,000+ podcasts (USA), 40,000+ music videos (USA), 3,000+ TV shows (USA), 20,000+ audiobooks (USA), 45,000+ movies (USA), 1,000,000+ App Store apps[1]
Preview 90 seconds (music, TV, videos, & audiobooks)
30+ seconds (movies)
Streaming Previews and podcasts only
Protocol iTunes Music Store Protocol (itms://)
Availability See Internationalization
Features Allowance, "Just For You", Celebrity Playlists, gift certificates and gift cards, iMix, billboard charts, advanced search
Website

The iTunes Store, originally the iTunes Music Store, is a software-based online digital media store operated by Apple Inc. It opened on April 28, 2003, and has been the biggest music vendor in the United States since April 2008,[2] and the biggest music vendor in the world since February 2010.[3] It offers over 26 million songs, videos, e-books and apps for sale online.[1] The iTunes Store's revenues in the first quarter of 2011 totalled nearly US$1.4 billion;[4] by February 6, 2013, the store had sold 25 billion songs worldwide.[5][6]

While most downloaded files initially included usage restrictions enforced by FairPlay, Apple's implementation of digital rights management, iTunes later initiated a shift into selling DRM-free music in most countries, marketed as iTunes Plus. On January 6, 2009, Apple announced that DRM had been removed from 80% of its music catalog in the US[7] Full iTunes Plus availability was achieved in the US on April 7, 2009, coinciding with the introduction of a three-tiered pricing model;[8] however, television episodes, many books, and films are still FairPlay-protected. As of June 2013, the iTunes Store possesses 575 million active user accounts,[9] and serves over 315 million mobile devices, including iPods, iPhones and iPads.[10][11]

Features and restrictions

Pricing model

Since the introduction of the iTunes Store, individual songs were all sold for the same price with no subscription fee (in contrast to most existing online music stores at the time of introduction, which charged a monthly fee for access to their catalog). Music in the store is in the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) format, which is the MPEG-4-specified successor to MP3. Songs with DRM are encoded at 128 kbit/s. At the January 2009 Macworld Expo, Apple announced that all iTunes music would be made available without DRM, and encoded at the higher-quality rate of 256 kbit/s. Previously, this model, known as "iTunes Plus", had been available only for music from EMI and some independent labels. Previews, ninety seconds in length, are available free, prior to buying a song. iTunes had the option between fully loading previews before playing, or simply streaming the preview; the former feature was removed with the release of iTunes 8.[12]

Feature length movies and television episodes are also available for purchase. Movies tend to be priced below a DVD of the same film (price varies, but usually $9.99-$19.99 for new and discounted releases) while television episodes ($1.99 standard defenition, $2.99 HD) are approximately double the cost of a song (free, 69¢, 99¢, or $1.29). Ringtones are $1.29 each, while alert tones are 99¢ each, in comparison.

Finally, some games are available for some models of iPods for various prices, but none as expensive as a feature length film. In addition, the iTunes Store offers apps, which are applications used for various purposes (games, maps, movie showtimes, etc.) that are compatible with the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad, although some apps are specifically for the iPhone or iPad only. Some Apps cost money (called "Paid Apps") and some are free (called "Free Apps"). Developers can decide which price they want for apps. The price, unlike other media on the iTunes store, can vary from being free to being hundreds of dollars. When someone downloads an App, 70 percent of the purchase goes to the developer(s), and 30 percent goes to Apple.[13]

At the Macworld 2008 keynote, Steve Jobs, who was Apple's CEO at the time, announced iTunes movie rentals.[14] Movies are available for rent in the iTunes Store on the same day they are released on DVD.[15] They are only viewable for 24 hours after users begin viewing them. This feature is not yet available in all countries but it is available in the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

There is a weekly promotion in which one to three songs are available to download for free to logged-in users. Free downloads are available on Tuesdays, and remain free until the following Tuesday, when the store gets refreshed with new content. NBC, have their own pages of "Free Season Premieres".

While previously the US iTunes Store has offered as much as 3 free songs each week (the single of the week, Discovery Download, and Canción de la Semana) in recent years, the store has instead replaced the three afformentioned categories with a unified "Single Of The Week" banner, with the week's single being from a new up and coming artist.[17]

iTunes Store for iOS

The iTunes Store allows users to purchase and download items directly to portable Apple devices, such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.[18] Originally, mobile users had to be connected to a Wi-Fi network in order to enter the store, hence its original name: the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store. However, at Macworld 2009, Apple issued a software update which automatically allowed 3G and EDGE users to access the store's full functionality for files smaller than 10 MB.[19] The iOS 3.0 update added the ability to download movies, TV shows, audiobooks, iTunes U, and ringtones on mobile devices, in addition to the previously available songs and podcasts. On February 18, 2010, Apple increased the 10 MB 3G download limit to 20 MB. In March 2012, Apple increased the 3G download limit to 50 MB.[20]

Customer support

In the United States, Apple provides technical support for the iTunes Store via email, there is no phone number for issues with iTunes purchases.[21] Most customer service inquiries are handled online, via the Report a Problem link in the iTunes application.[22]

Charitable donations

In response to major natural disasters, Apple provides the facility for donations to be made through the iTunes Store. Unlike other iTunes purchases, donations made to charitable organisations through this system are not subject to the 30% handling fee Apple usually charges.[23] iTunes donation pages were set up following the 2010 Haiti earthquake,[24] the 2011 Japanese earthquake and ensuing tsunami,[25] and 2012's Hurricane Sandy.[23] In all of these cases, donations were redirected to the Red Cross.

Catalog content

Music

The store began operations after Apple signed deals with five major record labels: EMI, Universal, Warner, Sony Music Entertainment, and BMG. Songs from more than 2,000 independent labels were added later, the first being from The Orchard on June 24, 2003.

As of 2012, the iTunes Store offers more than 26,000,000 songs,[1][26] including exclusive tracks from numerous artists. Not all artists are available on iTunes, including some popular ones such as Tool.[27] New songs are added to the iTunes catalog on a daily basis, the iTunes Store is updated each Tuesday, and a "Single of the Week" is available as a free download every Sunday.[28]

Downloaded songs come with song information (name, artist, album) already filled out, though iTunes provides a free service by Gracenote to do this for songs not purchased from the store, although they must be imported with iTunes. Songs that have an entry in the iTunes Store also come with album artwork (Artwork is embedded in the metadata). As of the release of iTunes 7, the artwork can be obtained for songs not purchased from the store for free if the user has an iTunes Store account. Purchased songs do not come with lyrics already typed into the application's window for them; nor does iTunes provide a service for acquiring the missing lyrics. However, several third-party applications exist to locate and automatically add lyrics to the user's music.

"Album Only" songs

Some songs are available from the store by "Album Only", meaning the song can only be acquired through the purchase of the entire album, whereas most songs can be downloaded separately from the album they belong to. Songs above 10 minutes in length are automatically album-only songs. Soundtracks also often have many Album Only tracks.

Sometimes the 10 minute restriction works in an artist's favor. Examples of this include Prince's Lovesexy and the deluxe version of Pheonix's Bankrupt!, which both have an album as a single track instead of being separate, (in Prince's case, the track was the album, while in Pheonix's case, it was a collection of demos and outtakes) forcing the buyer to buy the album itself.

Movie soundtracks normally include songs owned by many different labels, making licensing more complex. For example, Forrest Gump: The Soundtrack includes songs from Peacock Records, Argo Records & Capitol Records, among many others. Greatest Hits by Red Hot Chili Peppers has only one song, "Higher Ground", that is not available for download on a per song basis, whilst Circus (Britney Spears' 2008 album) has two songs that are only available for album download only which are Rock Me In and Phonography.

"Work Only" songs

Some tracks are listed as "Work Only", which means they can only be obtained by purchasing the entire piece of work (within the album); the tracks cannot be bought as singles.

Sub-divisions

When entering the US music store, there are multiple sub-divided stores that one can go into. These stores are either found under 'More In Music,' 'Genres,' 'Pre-Orders,' 'Celebrity Playlists' and 'Free Downloads.' Within 'More In Music,' one can enter various stores such as Starbucks Entertainment and iTunes Essentials. Groupings of music based upon the artist of the music (Artist Essentials), the genre or history of the music (Genres and History), or any other similarities (My Groove) are on iTunes Essentials.

Each grouping of music is essentially a pre-made playlist. The songs in the playlist are all listed in order of their importance, starting with the artist's most well-known song. These playlists usually contain either 45 or 75 songs equally distributed in three sections: The Basics (the biggest, best, and most important songs), Next Steps (usually composed of popular songs just beyond the hits) and Deep Cuts (under-appreciated songs). Occasionally, specific Artist Essentials do not have a Deep Cuts section. This usually depends on how many releases the artist has completed over the years.

Within 'Genres,' one can enter music stores that only have one genre. These genres include alternative, blues, children's music, Christian & gospel, classical, comedy (this includes comedy rock and stand-up comedy), country, dance, electronic, hip-hop/rap, jazz, Latino, pop, R&B/soul, reggae, rock, singer–songwriter, soundtrack, vocal, and world. There are a total of 20 genres in the US music store. 'Pre-Orders' lists albums that one can pre-order before the album is released. 'Celebrity Playlists' contains lists of songs chosen and described by celebrities. 'Free Downloads' are songs that subscribed iTunes Store users can obtain for free.

On November 1, 2006, Apple created a category for Latino and Hispanic content, "Spanish.

Podcasts

Main article: Podcast

The iTunes Store has over 150,000 free podcasts available for subscription. Once a podcast has been subscribed to, iTunes will automatically download new episodes to the subscriber's iTunes library. Mobile devices running iOS 4.2 or later versions are also able to download podcasts automatically.

Audiobooks

The iTunes Store also includes over 20,000 hours of audiobooks,[29] encoded at 32 kbit/s (22.050-24.000 kHz, mono) and 64 kbit/s (22.050 kHz, stereo). Ninety-second previews are offered for every book. These books are provided by Audible.com. This is the same format available if the user signs up directly with Audible.com and chose the "iPod" format.

The main difference is that it is unnecessary to sign up for a subscription to get audiobooks as is the case with Audible. A small discount is provided through buying audiobooks through the iTunes Store, but on a selective basis by Apple in comparison to an "always on member discount" if one has an Audible subscription. The "Audiobooks" category also includes radio shows and all other audio-only programs, except podcasts.

Video

In October 2005, Apple announced the latest iPod would be capable of playing video files, which would be sold online through the iTunes Store in the US.[30] These videos included 2,000 music videos and episodes of popular television programs. Apple made a deal with Disney to be the first supplier of TV shows. The first shows available included episodes of Lost and Desperate Housewives with each episode becoming available the day after it originally aired on broadcast TV. Several short animated films by Pixar are available.

The selling of videos on iTunes sparked considerable debate as to whether there was a paying audience for programming available for free on TV. As MP3 Newswire pointed out, users are not so much paying for the TV programs themselves. Instead they are really paying for a service that offers the convenience of someone else digitizing free broadcast episodes for them for their portable device, each episode in commercial-free form, and a convenient place to select and download individual shows. Through an updated version of QuickTime Pro, users can create their own videos for the iPod, including digitized versions of programs recorded on their VCR if they wish to take the time and effort to save the cost.

Upon the launch of iTunes 8, many TV shows, such as The Office and Heroes, began offering their programing in High Definition (HD). Until March 7, 2012, the HD content available on iTunes was in 720p (1280 x 720). After this date, 1080p content (1920 x 1080) was offered alongside 720p.

In addition to the launch of high definition TV shows, iTunes 8 allowed for the rental of movies through the iTunes Store. The playing of movie rentals must begin within 30 days of purchase and must be completed within 24 hours of having been started.[31]

In March 2009, Apple announced that iTunes customers could purchase and rent selected movie titles in HD from their computers. Previously, HD movie rentals were only available for purchase and playback on the Apple TV. HD movies were initially priced at $19.99, introduced with titles such as Quantum of Solace and Twilight.[32]

iTunes U

On May 30, 2007, iTunes U was announced at Cupertino, California. The service was created to manage, distribute, and control access to educational audio and video content and PDF files for students within a college or university as well as the broader Internet; it has since been updated to include grade schools from Kindergarten to 12th grade.[33] The member institutions are given their own iTunes U site that makes use of Apple's iTunes Store infrastructure. The online service is without cost to those uploading or downloading material. Content includes course lectures, language lessons, lab demonstrations, sports highlights and campus tours provided by qualifying two- and four-year accredited, degree-granting, public or private colleges, universities, elementary, middle, and high schools in the United States, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom.[34][35]

An advantage iTunes U has over traditional podcasting tools is that access to content can be restricted because of the use of the iTunes infrastructure end-to-end. Authentication is handled by the member college or university, who prompts a visitor for information (like an account and password specific to that institution) and then passes a certain token on to the iTunes U website. The token indicates the access level for that visitor.[36] An example might be a class podcast that can only be accessed by students enrolled in the class.

There is material from a myriad of places, including colleges and universities, on iTunes U. There are over 350,000 files available to download. Individual universities can be visited through the Universities & Colleges section, and other institutions can be visited through the "Beyond Campus" section.[37]

The functions of iTunes U are much like those of Podcasts in that users can either download individual streams or subscribe to a stream so that iTunes will automatically download it.[37]

iPod games

Main article: iPod game

On September 12, 2006, the iTunes Store began to offer additional games for purchase with the launch of iTunes 7, compatible with the iPod Classic or iPod Nano with video playback. Launch titles included: Bejeweled, Cubis, Mini Golf, Mahjong, Pac-Man, Tetris, Texas Hold 'Em, Vortex, and Zuma. Though they are downloaded through iTunes, the games cannot be played within the application itself; they can only be played on an iPod Classic or iPod Nano.

App Store

Main article: App Store (iOS)

With the launch of iPhone 3G and the 2.0 iOS firmware for iPod Touch and iPhone owners, the App Store began allowing users to download applications through the iTunes desktop software or the App Store on their iPhones. The applications are now available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. As of June 11, 2012, there are over 635,000 third-party applications available, of which 225,000 are applications specially designed for the iPad.[38] Developers of these applications receive 70 percent of the income and free applications are distributed without charge to the developer.[39] Each application is also protected with iTunes FairPlay DRM.

iBookstore

Main article: iBookstore

As with the launch of the App Store on both the iOS as a standalone application and in iTunes as a section of the iTunes store, the iBookstore has been launched on both platforms in a similar fashion, with the desktop software being used to store and sync iBooks purchases exclusively with iDevices. The iPhone OS software update on June 21, 2010 allowed iPhone and iPod touch customers in the US to buy iBooks, with other countries coming on stream soon after.

Censorship

Main articles: Censorship by Apple and Censorship of the iTunes Store

There is a policy of censoring profanity in titles on iTunes.[40] This has resulted in a Scunthorpe glitch, by which inoffensive titles are censored due to a coincidental string of letters.[41] If the song has an explicit label, it will be marked "explicit" next to the song title. If a song is marked "explicit" it is unavailable for purchase if "restrict explicit content" is checked under the parental controls preference. Often there will be a "clean" mark next to the title of some songs, meaning the lyrics have been censored, and is available to purchase on all accounts. Generally if a song is marked "clean" there is an explicit version available as well.

Reception and commercial success

Since its launch, the iTunes Store has crossed many milestones. In the first 18 hours, the store sold about 275,000 tracks and more than 1,000,000 in its first 5 days. When released for Windows in October 2003, iTunes was downloaded more than 1,000,000 times in the first 3 days, selling more than 1,000,000 songs in that period. On December 15, 2003, Apple announced that it had sold 25 million songs.

In January 2004 at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, Steve Jobs announced (Sellers, 2004) that an unnamed person had purchased US$29,500 worth of music. On March 15, 2004, Apple announced that iTunes Music Store customers had purchased and downloaded 50 million songs from the iTunes Music Store. A song sold on iTunes gives the artist 9 cents in profit. They also reported that customers were purchasing 2.5 million songs a week which translates to a projected annual run rate of 130 million songs a year. The 50 millionth song was "The Path of Thorns" by Sarah McLachlan.[42]

On April 28, 2004, the iTunes Music Store marked its first anniversary with 70 million songs sold, clear dominance in the paid online music market and a slight profit.[43] The store also offers hundreds of movie trailers and music videos, in an attempt to boost soundtrack sales. In the conference, Steve Jobs reiterated that a subscription service is still not in the interest of customers and reported that only 5 million of the 100 million songs offered in the Pepsi giveaway campaign were redeemed, which he blamed on technical problems in Pepsi distribution. According to an Apple press release dated August 10, 2004, the iTunes Music Store was the first store to have a catalog of more than one million songs.[44] Also, the iTunes Music Store at that point maintained a 70 percent market share of legal music downloads.

The emerging monopoly of the store has been criticised by Mike Lang of Miramax for "effectively strangling the industry". He says that because the music industry has allowed too few content providers, it is now suffering. Lang views the issue as being more of a threat than music piracy.[45]

Aggregators

Aggregators (in reference to iTunes) are digital distribution companies capable of delivering digital content to the iTunes Store. The iTunes Store subsequently has four divisions of content: Music, Video, eBooks, and Apps. Each type of content is delivered in a separate ways.

Music aggregators

Sales milestones

Music

  • 100 million songs sold: July 11, 2004
(Kevin Britten of Hays, Kansas, bought the 100 millionth song, and the twenty-year-old was given a call from Steve Jobs congratulating him.)[46]
  • 125 million songs sold: September 1, 2004[47]
  • 150 million songs sold: October 14, 2004[48]
  • 200 million songs sold: December 16, 2004
(Ryan Alekman of Belchertown, Massachusetts, bought the 200 millionth song, which was one of the tracks on U2's digital box set The Complete U2.)[49]
  • 250 million songs sold: January 24, 2005[50]
  • 300 million songs sold: March 2, 2005[51]
  • 400 million songs sold: May 10, 2005[52]

On July 5, 2005, Apple announced a promotion counting down to half a billion songs sold.[53]

  • 500 million songs sold: July 18, 2005
(Amy Greer of Lafayette, Indiana, bought the 500 millionth song, "Mississippi Girl" by Faith Hill.)[54]
  • 850 million songs sold: January 10, 2006[55]
  • 1 billion songs sold: February 23, 2006
(Alex Ostrovsky of West Bloomfield, Michigan, bought the billionth song, "Speed of Sound" by Coldplay.[56] He later got a call from Steve Jobs with the news that the sixteen-year-old was getting ten iPods, an iMac, a $10,000 music gift certificate, and a scholarship established in his name at the Juilliard School.)[46]
  • 1.5 billion songs sold: September 12, 2006[57]
  • 2 billion songs sold: January 10, 2007[57]
  • 2.5 billion songs sold: April 9, 2007[58]
  • 3 billion songs sold: July 31, 2007[59]
  • 4 billion songs sold: January 15, 2008
  • 5 billion songs sold: June 19, 2008[60]
  • 6 billion songs sold: January 6, 2009[61]
  • 8 billion songs sold: July 21, 2009
  • 8.6 billion songs sold: September 9, 2009
  • 10 billion songs sold: February 24, 2010[62]
(Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Georgia, downloaded "Guess Things Happen That Way" by Johnny Cash. At 71 years old, he was the oldest milestone winner to that date. He received a call from Steve Jobs and a $10,000 iTunes gift card.)[63]
  • 15 billion songs sold: June 6, 2011[64]
  • 20 billion songs sold: September 12, 2012[65]
  • 25 billion songs sold: February 6, 2013[5]

Video

  • 1 million videos sold: October 31, 2005[66]
  • 3+ million videos sold: December 6, 2005[67]
  • 8 million videos sold: January 10, 2006[55]
  • 15 million videos sold: February 23, 2006[56]
  • 45 million videos sold: September 12, 2006[57]
  • 50 million television episodes sold: January 10, 2007[57]
  • 1.3 million feature-length films sold: January 10, 2007[57]
  • 2 million feature-length films sold: July 31, 2007[68]
  • 200 million television episodes sold: October 16, 2008[69]
  • 1+ million HD episodes sold: October 16, 2008[69]

Applications

  • 10 million apps downloaded: July 14, 2008[70]
  • 100 million apps downloaded: September 9, 2008[71]
  • 200 million apps downloaded: October 22, 2008[72]
  • 300 million apps downloaded: December 5, 2008[73]
  • 500 million apps downloaded: January 16, 2009[74]
  • 800 million apps downloaded: March 17, 2009[75]
  • 1 billion apps downloaded: April 23, 2009[76]
  • 1.5 billion apps downloaded: July 14, 2009[77]
  • 1.8 billion apps downloaded: September 9, 2009
  • 2 billion apps downloaded: September 28, 2009
  • 3 billion apps downloaded: January 5, 2010
  • 7 billion apps downloaded: October 20, 2010
  • 10 billion apps downloaded: January 22, 2011[78]
  • 15 billion apps downloaded: July 7, 2011[79]
  • 25 billion apps downloaded: March 5, 2012[11]
  • 30 billion apps downloaded: June 11, 2012[80]
  • 35 billion apps downloaded: October 23, 2012[81]
  • 40 billion apps downloaded: January 7, 2013[82]
  • 50 billion apps downloaded: May 16, 2013
  • 60 billion apps downloaded: October 22, 2013

Market share

  • On September 12, 2006, Steve Jobs announced in his "It's Showtime" keynote that Apple had 88% of the legal US music download market.[57]
  • On April 11, 2007, Apple announced that the iTunes Store had sold more than two million movies, making it the world's most popular online movie store.[68]
  • On February 26, 2008, the iTunes Store surpassed Best Buy to become the second-largest music vendor in the USA behind Wal-Mart, and became number one on April 3, 2008.[2]
  • On October 10, 2012, the iTunes Store was reported to have a 64% share of the online music market, and a 29% share of all music sales worldwide.[83]

Internationalization

Originally only Mac OS X users who had credit cards with a US billing address could buy songs with the service, but Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, announced plans to support both Windows and non-American users. The Windows version of iTunes and support for the Windows platform from the iTunes Music Store were announced on October 16, 2003, with immediate availability. Beginning in 2004, the service has become available in a number of countries other than the United States:

Country Product type Affiliate network Price/song
Music[84] Music Videos[84] Podcasts[84] TV shows[84] Movies[84] Apps[84] Books[84] iTunes Match[85] iTunes U[84] iTunes Radio[85]
 United States April 28, 2003 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes PHG[86] 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 United Kingdom June 15, 2004 Yes Yes Yes June 4, 2008 Yes Yes December 15, 2011[87] Yes No TradeDoubler[88] 0.59 - 0.99 GBP
(0.91 - 1.53 USD)[89]
 France June 15, 2004 Yes Yes Yes April 30, 2009 Yes Yes December 15, 2011[87] Yes No TradeDoubler[88] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Germany June 15, 2004 Yes Yes April 2, 2008[90] April 16, 2009[91] Yes Yes December 15, 2011[87] Yes No TradeDoubler[88] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Austria October 26, 2004 Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes April 30, 2012[92] Yes No TradeDoubler[88] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Belgium October 26, 2004 Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes December 15, 2011[87] Yes No TradeDoubler[88] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Finland October 26, 2004 No Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No TradeDoubler[88] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Greece October 26, 2004 Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes April 30, 2012[92] Yes No TradeDoubler[93] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Italy October 26, 2004 Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes April 30, 2012[92] Yes No TradeDoubler[88] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Luxembourg October 26, 2004 Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes December 15, 2011[87] Yes No TradeDoubler[93] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Netherlands October 26, 2004 Yes Yes No September 27, 2011[94] Yes Yes January 16, 2012[95] Yes No TradeDoubler[88] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Portugal October 26, 2004 Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes April 30, 2012[92] Yes No TradeDoubler[93] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Spain October 26, 2004 Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes December 15, 2011[87] Yes No TradeDoubler[88] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Canada December 3, 2004 Yes Yes Yes June 4, 2008 Yes Yes December 15, 2011[87] Yes No PHG[96] 0.69 - 1.29 CAD
(0.67 - 1.25 USD)[89]
 Ireland January 6, 2005 Yes Yes No April 30, 2009 Yes Yes December 15, 2011[87] Yes No TradeDoubler[88] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Sweden May 10, 2005 Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No TradeDoubler[88] 9 - 12 SEK
(1.25 - 1.67 USD)[89]
 Norway May 10, 2005 No Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No TradeDoubler[88] 8 - 10 NOK
(1.32 - 1.66 USD)[89]
  Switzerland May 10, 2005 Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes December 15, 2011[87] Yes No TradeDoubler[88] 1.60 - 2.20 CHF
(1.53 - 2.11 USD)[89]
 Denmark May 10, 2005 Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No TradeDoubler[88] 8 - 10 DKK
(1.52 - 1.90 USD)[89]
 Japan August 4, 2005[97] Yes Yes No Yes Yes March 6, 2013[98] No Yes No PHG[86] 150 - 250 JPY
(1.81 - 3.02 USD)[89]
 Australia October 25, 2005 October 25, 2005 Yes June 24, 2008[99] August 14, 2008 Yes Yes December 15, 2011[87] Yes No PHG[86] 1.19 - 2.19 AUD
(1.28 - 2.35 USD)[89]
 New Zealand December 6, 2005[100] Yes Yes No August 14, 2008 Yes October 22, 2012[101] December 15, 2011[87] Yes No PHG[86] 1.79 - 2.39 NZD
(1.29 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Mexico August 4, 2009[102] Yes Yes No November 9, 2010[103] Yes October 22, 2012[101] December 15, 2011[87] Yes No PHG[104] 9 - 15 MXN
(0.71 - 1.19 USD)[89]
 Bulgaria September 29, 2011[105] Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes April 30, 2012[92] Yes No TradeDoubler[93] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Cyprus September 29, 2011[105] Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes December 15, 2011[87] Yes No TradeDoubler[93] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Czech Republic September 29, 2011[105] Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes December 15, 2011[87] Yes No TradeDoubler[93] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Estonia September 29, 2011[105] Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes January 16, 2012[95] Yes No TradeDoubler[93] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Hungary September 29, 2011[105] Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes July 19, 2012[106] Yes No TradeDoubler[93] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Latvia September 29, 2011[105] Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes January 16, 2012[95] Yes No TradeDoubler[93] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Lithuania September 29, 2011[105] Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes January 16, 2012[95] Yes No TradeDoubler[93] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Malta September 29, 2011[105] Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes December 15, 2011[87] Yes No TradeDoubler[93] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Poland September 29, 2011[105] Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes July 19, 2012[106] Yes No TradeDoubler[93] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Romania September 29, 2011[105] Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No No TradeDoubler[93] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Slovenia September 29, 2011[105] Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes April 30, 2012[92] Yes No TradeDoubler[93] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Slovakia September 29, 2011[105] Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No TradeDoubler[93] 0.69 - 1.29 EUR
(0.92 - 1.72 USD)[89]
 Argentina December 13, 2011[107] Yes Yes No December 13, 2011[107] Yes October 22, 2012[101] January 16, 2012[95] Yes No TradeDoubler[86] 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Brazil December 13, 2011[107] Yes Yes No December 13, 2011[107] Yes October 22, 2012[101] December 13, 2011 Yes No TradeDoubler[104] 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Bolivia December 13, 2011[107] Yes Yes No December 13, 2011[107] Yes October 22, 2012[101] January 16, 2012[95] Yes No N/A 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Chile December 13, 2011[107] Yes Yes No December 13, 2011[107] Yes October 22, 2012[101] January 16, 2012[95] Yes No TradeDoubler[86] 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Colombia December 13, 2011[107] Yes Yes No December 13, 2011[107] Yes October 22, 2012[101] January 16, 2012[95] Yes No TradeDoubler[86] 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Costa Rica December 13, 2011[107] Yes Yes No December 13, 2011[107] Yes October 22, 2012[101] January 16, 2012[95] Yes No TradeDoubler[86] 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Dominican Republic December 13, 2011[107] Yes Yes No December 13, 2011[107] Yes October 22, 2012[101] January 16, 2012[95] Yes No N/A 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Ecuador December 13, 2011[107] Yes Yes No December 13, 2011[107] Yes October 22, 2012[101] January 16, 2012[95] Yes No N/A 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 El Salvador December 13, 2011[107] Yes Yes No December 13, 2011[107] Yes October 22, 2012[101] January 16, 2012[95] Yes No TradeDoubler[86] 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Guatemala December 13, 2011[107] Yes Yes No December 13, 2011[107] Yes October 22, 2012[101] January 16, 2012[95] Yes No N/A 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Honduras December 13, 2011[107] Yes Yes No December 13, 2011[107] Yes October 22, 2012[101] January 16, 2012[95] Yes No TradeDoubler[86] 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Nicaragua December 13, 2011[107] Yes Yes No December 13, 2011[107] Yes October 22, 2012[101] January 16, 2012[95] Yes No N/A 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Panama December 13, 2011[107] Yes Yes No December 13, 2011[107] Yes October 22, 2012[101] January 16, 2012[95] Yes No TradeDoubler[86] 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Paraguay December 13, 2011[107] Yes Yes No December 13, 2011[107] Yes October 22, 2012[101] January 16, 2012[95] Yes No TradeDoubler[86] 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Peru December 13, 2011[107] Yes Yes No December 13, 2011[107] Yes October 22, 2012[101] January 16, 2012[95] Yes No TradeDoubler[86] 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Venezuela December 13, 2011[107] Yes Yes No December 13, 2011[107] Yes October 22, 2012[101] January 16, 2012[95] Yes No N/A 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Brunei June 27, 2012[108] Yes Yes No June 27, 2012[108] Yes free books June 27, 2012[108] Yes No N/A 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Cambodia June 27, 2012[108] Yes June 21, 2012 No June 27, 2012[108] June 21, 2012[109] free books June 27, 2012[108] June 21, 2012 No N/A 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Hong Kong June 27, 2012[108] Yes Yes No June 27, 2012[108] Yes free books June 27, 2012[108] Yes No PHG[86] 5 - 8 HKD
 Laos June 27, 2012[108] Yes June 21, 2012 No June 27, 2012[108] June 21, 2012[109] free books June 27, 2012[108] June 21, 2012 No N/A 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Macau June 27, 2012[108] Yes Yes No June 27, 2012[108] Yes free books June 27, 2012[108] Yes No PHG[86] 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Malaysia June 27, 2012[108] Yes Yes No June 27, 2012[108] Yes free books June 27, 2012[108] Yes No PHG[86] 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Philippines June 27, 2012[108] Yes Yes No June 27, 2012[108] Yes free books June 27, 2012[108] Yes No PHG[86] 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Singapore June 27, 2012[108] Yes Yes No June 27, 2012[108] Yes free books June 27, 2012[108] Yes No PHG[86] 0.98 - 1.48 SGD
 Sri Lanka June 27, 2012[108] Yes Yes No June 27, 2012[108] Yes free books June 27, 2012[108] Yes No N/A 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Taiwan June 27, 2012[108] Yes Yes No June 27, 2012[108] Yes free books June 27, 2012[108] Yes No PHG[86] 15 - 30 TWD
 Thailand June 27, 2012[108] Yes Yes No June 27, 2012[108] Yes free books June 27, 2012[108] Yes No PHG[86] 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Vietnam June 27, 2012[108] Yes Yes No June 27, 2012[108] Yes free books June 27, 2012[108] Yes No PHG[86] 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Anguilla December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Antigua and Barbuda December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Armenia December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Azerbaijan December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Bahamas December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Bahrain December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Barbados December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No No Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Belarus December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] 0.69 - 1.29 USD
 Belize December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Bermuda December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No No Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Botswana December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Burkina Faso December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No No Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 British Virgin Islands December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Cape Verde December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Cayman Islands December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Dominica December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Egypt December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Fiji December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012 Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Gambia December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Ghana December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Grenada December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Guinea-Bissau December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 India December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 4, 2012[110] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] 9-15 INR
(0.18 - 0.30 USD)
 Indonesia December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 4, 2012[110] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] 5000 - 7000 IDR
 Israel December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] 1.90 - 3.90 NIS
 Jordan December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Kazakhstan December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No No Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Kenya December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No No Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Kyrgyzstan December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No No Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Lebanon December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Mauritius December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Federated States of Micronesia December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Moldova December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Mongolia December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Mozambique December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Namibia December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
   Nepal December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No No Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Niger December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Nigeria December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Oman December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Papua New Guinea December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No No Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Qatar December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Russia December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] April 21, 2008 No December 4, 2012[110] April 21, 2008[112] free books Yes April 21, 2008 No PHG[86] 15 - 19 RUB (0.49 - 0.62 USD)
 Saint Kitts and Nevis December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Saudi Arabia December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 South Africa December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Swaziland December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Trinidad and Tobago December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Turkey December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 4, 2012[110] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Tajikistan December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Turkmenistan December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Uganda December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Ukraine December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 United Arab Emirates December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Uzbekistan December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No No Yes free books Yes Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Zimbabwe December 4, 2012[110] December 4, 2012[110] Yes No December 12, 2012[111] Yes free books Yes Yes No N/A N/A
 Albania No No June 21, 2012 No No June 21, 2012[109] free books No June 21, 2012 No N/A N/A
 Algeria No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Angola No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Benin No No June 21, 2012 No No June 21, 2012[109] free books No June 21, 2012 No N/A N/A
 Bhutan No No June 21, 2012 No No June 21, 2012[109] free books No June 21, 2012 No N/A N/A
 Chad No No June 21, 2012 No No June 21, 2012[109] free books No June 21, 2012 No N/A N/A
 China No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Republic of the Congo No No June 21, 2012 No No June 21, 2012[109] free books No June 21, 2012 No N/A N/A
 Croatia No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Guyana No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Iceland No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Jamaica No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Korea, South No No Yes No No June 10, 2008 free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Kuwait No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Liberia No No June 21, 2012 No No June 21, 2012[109] free books No June 21, 2012 No N/A N/A
 Macedonia No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Madagascar No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Malawi No No June 21, 2012 No No June 21, 2012[109] free books No June 21, 2012 No N/A N/A
 Mali No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Mauritania No No June 21, 2012 No No June 21, 2012[109] free books No June 21, 2012 No N/A N/A
 Montserrat No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Pakistan No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Palau No No June 21, 2012 No No June 21, 2012[109] free books No June 21, 2012 No N/A N/A
 Saint Lucia No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 São Tomé and Príncipe No No June 21, 2012 No No June 21, 2012[109] free books No June 21, 2012 No N/A N/A
 Senegal No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Seychelles No No June 21, 2012 No No June 21, 2012[109] free books No June 21, 2012 No N/A N/A
 Sierra Leone No No June 21, 2012 No No June 21, 2012[109] free books No June 21, 2012 No N/A N/A
 Solomon Islands No No June 21, 2012 No No June 21, 2012[109] free books No June 21, 2012 No N/A N/A
 Suriname No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Tanzania No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No PHG[86] N/A
 Tunisia No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Turks and Caicos Islands No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Uruguay No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No N/A N/A
 Yemen No No Yes No No Yes free books No Yes No PHG[86] N/A
Country Music Music Videos Podcasts TV shows Movies Apps Books iTunes Match iTunes U iTunes Radio Affiliate network Price/song
Product type

To buy files through the store, a user must install the proprietary digital media player iTunes to access the store. This software is available only for certain versions of the Macintosh or Windows operating systems.

  • According to an Apple press release, the European iTunes Music Stores sold a combined total of 800,000 songs in one week, with 450,000 of those songs sold in the UK.[113]
  • The Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Greek stores have been localized.
  • On December 3, 2004 the British Office of Fair Trading referred the iTunes Music Store to the European Commission because it prevents consumers in one EU country from buying music from stores in other EU countries, in violation of EU free-trade legislation; the immediate cause of the referral was because the €0.99 price charged in the Eurozone equates to UK£0.68 in sterling, rather than the UK£0.79 actually charged there.
  • iTunes Music Store in Japan had 1 million songs available at start.[97] In the next four days the store had sold one million songs – the pace faster than that of the US store.[114] In addition to a long delay, Apple failed to have one set price for singles. Pundits speculated that this may have indicated the introduction of new price structure to the rest of the stores in future, in favor of record labels who would like to see higher prices for new songs. This extension to other countries was announced in January 2009.
  • The release of video-capable iPods also saw the store launch in Australia with music videos and short films by Pixar. iTunes Gift Cards (as they are now known) are now also available in many more stores such as JB Hi-Fi, David Jones, and the Woolworths chain of stores. Access was inadvertently given to some people in New Zealand, too.[115] Failed negotiations with the Sony BMG label meant that none of that label's artists were available at the time of launch; they were later added on January 17, 2006.
  • New Zealand users had briefly been able to buy from the Australian store when it first opened until that loophole was closed.
  • As of the 2009 Macworld Conference & Expo, Apple had given no new information of the (possible; future) inclusion and expansion of music videos, TV-shows and movies in other European countries. The stores of the UK, Germany and France currently remain the only European Stores with local and/or localized selections of TV-shows, movies and music videos.

Payment options

A user must also pay with an iTunes gift card or a credit card with a billing address in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Bulgaria, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, the United States or Vietnam. Apple also offers other payment methods (like Paypal), which differ from country to country. Residents in other countries can only buy a gift card from a merchant or download free podcasts and previews.

File formats

Originally, songs were encoded using FairPlay-encrypted 128 kbit/s AAC streams in an mp4 wrapper, using the .m4p extension. While licenses to the AAC compression and the mp4 file format are readily available, Apple generally has not licensed its proprietary FairPlay encryption scheme to other mobile device manufacturers, so only devices from Apple are able to play the FairPlay-encrypted songs sold at the iTunes Store. The only exceptions were three mobile phones sold by Motorola in the years 2005–6: the Motorola ROKR E1, the Motorola RAZR V3i, and the Motorola SLVR L7.

Currently the digital booklets included with some albums are in PDF. With the present iPod software, these files are not readable on iPods without third party software. However, with the release of their latest firmware update for the iPhone and iPod Touch, these can be converted to books and viewed in the iBooks application.

From May 29, 2007, tracks on the EMI label were made available in a DRM-less format called iTunes Plus. These files are unprotected and are encoded in the AAC format at 256 kbit/s, twice the bitrate of standard tracks bought through the service. They are labelled as "purchased AAC audio file" (.m4a) rather than "protected AAC audio file" (.m4p) in iTunes and the context menu obtained by right-clicking the song includes an option to convert to MP3.

In January 2009, Apple announced that all music would be available in the iTunes Plus format, bringing an end to the sale of music with DRM on iTunes. In April, the sale of protected music ended in the western versions of the store, making all music in the iTunes Store "iTunes Plus". iTunes store users may choose to "upgrade" any of their downloaded iTunes music to iTunes Plus if they wish, but most songs require payment to do so. FairPlay DRM-protected music was still available in the Japanese iTunes store, up until February 22, 2012, when they upgraded to the iTunes Plus model.[118]

In September 2009, Apple introduced the iTunes LP format (known pre-launch by the code name "Cocktail")[119] which features visual, interactive content alongside album tracks and lyrics.

Digital rights management

Apple's FairPlay digital rights management (DRM) is integrated into iTunes, which manages songs purchased in the m4p file format from iTunes Store before January 2009. iTunes relies on FairPlay to implement three main restrictions:

  • Users can make a maximum of seven CD copies of any particular playlist containing songs in the m4p file format purchased from the iTunes Store.
  • Users can access their purchased songs in the m4p file format on a maximum of five computers.
  • Songs in the m4p file format can only be played on a computer with iTunes or an iPod; other MP3 devices do not support FairPlay encoded tracks.

There are no restrictions on number of iPods to which a purchased song can be transferred nor the number of times any individual song can be burned to CD.

When Apple initially introduced FairPlay, songs purchased through iTunes had limits of three simultaneous machines and ten CD copies of a playlist. The adjustment to the current limits was implemented with the introduction of iTunes 4.5 in April 2004, presumably as the result of re-negotiations Apple had with major labels.

Apple's DRM technology is breakable. Various programs have been written to remove the FairPlay wrapper and allow the AAC files to be used without technological restriction. More simply, a user can convert protected files to an unprotected format by using iTunes to burn them to an audio CD and ripping the CD back to iTunes. If the CD is ripped back to iTunes in a lossy format, some audio quality will be lost in this transcoding. An alternative way of transcoding the files is to record the "Wave Out Mix" using an audio recording program (such as Audacity or Audio Hijack Pro) while playing the song on iTunes—and then encoding it to a format of the user's choice.

Competitors accused Apple of using the iPod, the iTunes Store, and FairPlay to establish a vertical monopoly and a lock-in for iPod users to use the iTunes Store exclusively (and vice versa). This "lock" had two aspects:

  • Apple has maintained tight control of its FairPlay encryption. Other online music stores cannot sell music files encoded with FairPlay, and competing devices from companies such as Creative Labs and iriver cannot play such files. This means that consumers who want to listen to songs downloaded from the iTunes Store must either have an Apple device (iPod, iPhone, iPad) or convert the files to an open format.
  • The iPod does not play files encoded in Microsoft's WMA format or RealNetworks' Helix-protected format, which are used by other online music stores. iPod owners who want to play music from other such stores must circumvent the files' DRM.

In July 2004, RealNetworks debuted an application named Harmony, which converted files purchased from RealNetworks' RealRhapsody service into a FairPlay-compatible format that an iPod could play. In response, Apple accused RealNetworks of "adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod."[120] and released a firmware upgrade that rendered iPods incapable of playing such files. On January 3, 2005, an iTunes Music Store customer sued Apple, alleging the company broke US antitrust laws by freezing out competitors.[121]

In 2006, a controversy erupted about a French draft law aimed at reinforcing the protection of works of art against "piracy", or illegal copying; some clauses of the law could possibly be used to request Apple to provide information about its FairPlay system to manufacturers of competing players. Apple and associated lobbying groups protested the draft law, going as far as to suggest that it condoned "state-sponsored piracy."

Movement against DRM

On February 6, 2007, Steve Jobs called on the Big Four record labels to allow their music to be sold DRM-free.[122] This approach was advocated by the Open Music Model as being revenue maximizing. On April 2, 2007, Apple and the record label EMI announced that the iTunes Store would begin offering, as an additional purchasing option, tracks from EMI's catalog encoded as 256 kbit/s AAC without FairPlay or any other DRM.

On May 29, 2007, Apple released version 7.2 of its iTunes software, allowing users to purchase DRM-free music and music videos from participating labels. These new files, available through the iTunes Store, have been called iTunes Plus music by Apple. iTunes Plus content was offered at a higher price than the DRM-protected versions of the same content.

In October 2007, iTunes Plus became automatic instead of optional for all iTunes Plus licensed content. In addition, the price of iTunes Plus reverted to the lower DRM price.

Almost immediately after the launch of iTunes Plus, reports surfaced that the DRM-free tracks sold by the iTunes Store contained identifying information about the customer, embedding the purchasing account's full name and e-mail address as metadata in the file. This information has always been in iTunes downloads both with and without FairPlay DRM.. Privacy groups expressed concerns that this data could be misused if possessions carrying the files were stolen, and potentially wrongly incriminate a user for copyright infringement.[123]

On January 6, 2009 at the Macworld Expo, Apple announced a significant overhaul of the iTunes Plus catalog with Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, Warner Music Group and EMI offering all their music in iTunes Plus immediately. As of the announcement, 8 million songs were available in Apple's DRM-free format. As of April 2009, all songs became available in the iTunes Plus format, except from the Japanese iTunes Store; the Japanese store would not undergo full conversion until February 22, 2012.[124]

Promotions

On Super Bowl Sunday, February 1, 2004, Apple launched a promotion with Pepsi in which they gave away 100 million songs, through tokens on selected soft drink bottle caps. Unfortunately for Apple, Pepsi failed to properly distribute the bottles to major metropolitan areas until only weeks before the promotion ended, despite a one-month extension of the deadline by Apple. The promotion was repeated beginning January 31, 2005, with 200 million songs available, and an iPod Mini given away every hour.

On July 1, 2004, Apple announced that, starting with the sale of the 95 millionth song, an iPod would be given away to the buyer of each 100 thousandth song, for a total of 50 iPods. The buyer of the 100 millionth song would receive a PowerBook, iPod, and US$10,000 gift certificate to the iTunes Music Store.

Ten days later, on July 11, Apple announced that 100 million songs had been sold through the iTunes Music Store. The 100 millionth song was titled "Somersault (Dangermouse Remix)" by Zero 7, purchased by Kevin Britten of Hays, Kansas. He then received a phone call from Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who offered his congratulations, as well as a 40 GB 3rd Generation iPod laser-engraved with a message of thanks.

Inspired by Pepsi's marketing success with iTunes giveaways, Coca-Cola partnered with 7-Eleven to give away a free iTunes song with every 32 US fl oz (950 ml). Slurpee frozen beverage until July 31, 2005. Songs could be redeemed until August 31, 2005 by entering a code printed on the Slurpee cup into the iTunes Music Store application. Coca-Cola did this in spite of having its own music store, myCokeMusic.com, that competed with the iTunes Music Store in Europe. myCokeMusic.com ceased business on July 31, 2006.[125]

On July 5, 2005, Apple announced that they were counting down to half a billion songs. The buyer of every 100 thousandth song up to 500 million would receive an iPod Mini and a 50-song gift card. The grand prize for the person who downloads the 500 millionth song was 10 iPods of their choice, a 10,000-song gift card, 10 50-song gift cards or 4 tickets to the Coldplay world tour. Twelve days later, on July 17, Apple announced that 500 million songs had been sold through the iTunes Music Store. The 500 millionth song, purchased by Amy Greer of Lafayette, Indiana, was "Mississippi Girl" by Faith Hill.

On July 28, 2005, Apple and The Gap announced a promotion to award iTunes music downloads to Gap customers who tried on a pair of Gap jeans.[126] From August 8 to 31, 2005, each customer who tried on any pair of Gap jeans could receive a free download for a song of their choice from the iTunes Music Store.

On February 7, 2006, Apple announced that they were counting down to the billionth song download and began a promotion similar to the previous 100 million and 500 million countdown. Whoever downloaded the billionth song would receive a 20" iMac, ten 60 GB iPods, and a US$10,000 iTunes Music Card. The billionth song was purchased on February 23, 2006 by Alex Ostrovsky of West Bloomfield, Michigan. The purchased song was "Speed of Sound" as part of Coldplay's X&Y album.

On July 25, 2006, Facebook and iTunes began offering a promotion where members of the Apple Students group would receive a free 25 song sampler each week until September 30 in various music genres. The idea behind the promotion was to get students more familiar and enthusiastic with each service as Autumn classes approached.[127] However in order to prevent abuse of the promotion, the weekly code that Facebook provided stopped working after it was redeemed one million times. In addition, the promotion caused discontent among international students, as the code was only valid in the US iTunes Music Store.

On April 10, 2009, Apple announced that it will be counting down to the billionth app. Apps being the applications for iPod Touch and iPhone. Launching a counter that is constantly running on Good Friday, Apple starting counting down.[76] Connor Mulcahey, age 13 of Weston, CT, downloaded the billionth app, "Bump" by Bump Technologies, and will receive a Macbook Pro 17", a 32 GB iPod Touch, a Time Capsule, and a $10,000 Gift Card for the iTunes store.

On February 11, 2010 Apple announced that it would be counting down to 10 billion songs downloaded. A $10,000 gift card was offered as a prize. On February 24, 2010, the 10 billionth song, "Guess Things Happen That Way" by Johnny Cash, was purchased by Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Georgia.[128]

Other platforms

Currently, iTunes is supported on the Mac OS X (Leopard and above) and Microsoft Windows operating systems. iTunes was known to run passably well in Linux on x86-based computers using the Wine compatibility layer; however, by December 2011, this was no longer the case.[129] Users without iTunes installed can see a content database (but not hear or view the content itself) using the iTunes Preview service, which runs inside their internet browser. This service also allows users to watch trailers for upcoming film releases. Should they choose to purchase any media, they will be redirected to the iTunes application.

Technical details

Store pages are delivered using standard HTML with a special header. This change was made when iTunes 9.0 was released. iTunes uses WebKit to render these pages on the screen.[130]

Prior to iTunes 9.0, the iTunes Store was delivered using a custom XML format that describes the position of all of the elements, boxes, album art and all of their properties — including whether a reference link can be dragged out of iTunes and into another document.

The store's back-end software uses WebObjects — Apple's own application server it acquired from NeXT. Content is uploaded to the iTunes data store using an internal Apple program called iTunes Producer, which automatically encodes and adds metadata to uploaded files.

Legal disputes

Main article: Apple Inc. litigation

Apple Records

For three years, The Beatles' record company Apple Records were in a legal dispute, Apple Corps v Apple Computer, with Apple Computer over the name "Apple." On May 8, 2006, a ruling was declared in favor of Apple Computer, but Apple Records said it would appeal the ruling. Despite this, plans were announced by Neil Aspinall in April 2006 to remaster completely and release the entire Beatles catalog on an unspecified online music service, as well as release some previously unheard work by the band. No date was set at that time.[131] It has also been reported that the Beatles' music catalog might initially be appearing on iTunes only, as Apple is reported to be negotiating with Britain's EMI group over an online distribution deal that might be exclusive for a limited time.[132]

During his January 9, 2007 Macworld Keynote address, Apple CEO Steve Jobs used the band's song "Lovely Rita" to introduce the music-playing capabilities of the company's new iPhone. This was regarded by industry observers as further evidence that the Beatles catalog would be introduced to the iTunes Music Store catalog in the near future.[133] On February 5, 2007, Apple Corps and Apple Inc. announced they had reached a settlement in their legal dispute.[134]

In a related development, Apple announced on August 14, 2007 that the entire solo catalog of John Lennon would be available on iTunes.[135] The solo catalogs of the other three Beatles, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison, are also available on iTunes.

On November 16, 2010, the entire Beatles catalog was officially made available on the iTunes Store.

The Consumer Council of Norway EULA challenge

On June 6, 2006, The Consumer Ombudsmen in Norway, Sweden and Denmark launched a common open letter to Apple regarding the EULA of iTunes through the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman Bjørn Erik Thon.[136] The iTunes case is based upon an official complaint[137] filed by The Consumer Council of Norway on January 25, 2006.

The main allegations were that:

  • The EULA is unbalanced to disfavor the customer. Scandinavian law requires any written agreement to favor both parties. The weak party also enjoys protection from exploitation according to Norwegian consumer laws.
  • The iTunes Store's use of Digital rights management limits the number of devices purchased songs can be played on.
  • iTunes' contract entitles the company to at any time change the terms of the contract without notice, including the selection of players or software that must be used for iTunes files, and also the number of times a customer can change or copy already purchased files.
  • The EULA is both vague and hard to understand for the customers.
  • The EULA states that the legal relationship between the company and customers is regulated by English contract law. It is unreasonable to expect Norwegian consumers to have comprehensive knowledge of English law. Products marketed to Norwegian consumers in Norway are subject to Norwegian law—a right that cannot be waived by a clause in a company's standard customer contract.
  • The EULA removes iTunes' responsibility regarding damage to the consumer's computer caused by software errors even though responsibility cannot be waived in Scandinavian Law.

Apple responded July 31, 2006.[138]

On January 22, 2007, German and French consumer groups joined forces with Norway and Finland.[139][140] Their goal is to create a united European front against iTunes (Germany and France have each had their own negotiation process with iTunes). According to the press statement Apple is in favor of this. The key points in the negotiations were:

  • Interoperability: the consumer should have the right and ability to play his or her music on any device of his or her own choice.
  • Change of conditions: iTunes must revoke their right to change the terms and conditions (EULA) at any time without the consent of the consumer.
  • Liability: iTunes should change its clause limiting its liability to recover consumer damages if they are caused by content sold by iTunes.
  • Applicable Law: Consumers entering into a contract with iTunes should be able to rely on the consumer protection rules according to the law of the country in which they live.

EU anti-trust case

In 2004, Which? magazine complained to the European Commission about the higher prices in the UK for the same songs sold in the European Union: typically 0.99 euro in the EU and £0.79 in the UK.[141] In 2008, the Commission withdrew its investigation after Apple agreed to end the price disparity.[141]

Content disputes

Universal Music Group

On July 1, 2007, the New York Times reported[142] that Universal (currently the world's biggest music corporation) would not renew its annual contract to sell music through iTunes. Instead, Universal said that it would market music to Apple at will, allowing it to remove its songs from the iTunes service on short notice if the two sides did not agree on pricing or other terms.

On August 9, 2007, UMG announced a plan to sell some songs in MP3 format, without Digital rights management, through a variety of online services such as Amazon MP3 and the newly created gBox. While these tracks continue to be available through the iTunes Store, Universal chose to license these songs in DRM-free formats only through other services.[143]

NBC Universal TV series

On August 31, 2007, Apple announced that programs on NBC's 2007-08 television schedule would not be available on iTunes.[144] NBC had informed Apple the previous day that it would not be renewing its contract.[145] It was later clarified that this change only applied to series produced by NBC Universal-owned Universal Media Studios, including Universal-produced shows on other networks such as House. NBC programs produced by other studios, such as Chuck (Warner Bros.) and Journeyman (20th Century Fox), would remain available on iTunes.[146]

Apple has publicly asserted that NBC would only renew their contract if Apple agreed to a price increase of US$4.99 per episode, which they did not. NBC disputes that claim, claiming that Apple balked at NBC's request to package shows together and make wholesale pricing more flexible.[147] NBC claims that they never asked to double the wholesale price and insisted that their shows would be sold by the iTunes Store through early December.[148] Other networks who sell their shows via iTunes did not follow suit. On December 1, 2007 NBC shows were pulled from iTunes.

On September 9, 2008, Apple and NBC Universal announced that NBC's TV shows were once again available on the US iTunes Store.

The UK iTunes Store has many shows from NBC available, though they are distributed by Universal Studios. The pricing for these seasons are higher than they were on the US store, an example being, Season 3 of The Office is priced at UK£43.47 (roughly US$72) vs. $52.99 (US Store HD).

See also

References

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