Crowe Let It Out of the Bag
Whirlpool, August 26, 2005
By Brad Peczka
In a move that will have Apple turning all shades of purple, Russell Crowe announced yesterday that the Australian iTunes Music Store will be opening this Thursday.
The exact launch date of the store has been closely guarded by Apple since January this year, when clues suggesting that an Australian iTunes store was about to open were spotted on the Apple Japan site. Speculation was rife that the store would be announced at the MacWorld 2005 Conference. The iTunes stores are highly popular worldwide due to their traditional low pricing, at $0.99US ($1.27AU) per song.
Crowe's leaking of the information has thrust the issue back into the spotlight, with keen-eyed users finding a unlisted Apple link which provides access to what will be the Australian iTunes store. User reports indicate that the link can be used to create an iTunes Australia account, as well as allowing the registration of Credit Card details for song purchases. However, songs are unable to be downloaded until the official launch of the store.
As well as closing months of speculation, the iTunes store will go head to head with other established Australian music sites, including BigPond Music and Destra Music. The key to winning user share will be the pricing of songs. According to Crowe, this will be $1.80 per track, which is almost double the price of BigPond Music's $0.99. A number of other sources have suggested that pricing could be anywhere as low as $1.29 per track, with $1.49 also being floated as a possible figure. Reactions have been mixed, with one user on Apple Talk Australia posting "If it's anything over $17, I'm continuing to stay with Big W where you can pick up new CD's for under $20.".
Apple Australia has declined to comment, with a spokeswoman stating that "It hasn't been announced and we don't comment on things that haven't been announced."
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