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Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Apple to start Japan iTunes service in Aug

Apple will launch its popular iTunes online music service in Japan in August, undercutting existing players by charging about 150 yen ($1.40) per song.

Major Japanese record companies, including Columbia Music Entertainment Inc. , Avex Group Holdings Inc. and Toshiba-EMI Ltd., have agreed to provide songs for the service.

But Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. has yet to agree on contract terms with Apple, it said.

Apple's entry into Japan's download market has long been rumored. The Japanese Nihon Keizai reported late last year that Apple would launch its "iTunes Music Store" in Japan by the end of March 2005.

Apple will charge between 100 and 200 yen per song on its Japan service, compared with 210 yen on Sony's Mora online download service, which currently offers the country's largest digital library of 200,000 songs, the Nihon Keizai said.

The newspaper said Apple would also have a bigger library, offering a choice of 500,000 to 1 million songs.

The iTunes online service, paired with Apple's popular iPod portable music player, commands the field for legal digital song downloads.

Apple has sold more than 400 million songs in 19 countries since the launch of iTunes in the United States two years ago.

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