Following yesterday’s story by the usually accurate Japanese blog Macotakara on Apple’s Japan arm rolling out iTunes in the Cloud for music, Japanese music journal AV Watch reported this morning that the California-based iPod maker has its sights set high on the 130 million people market. According to the report, customers in Japan are now finally able to purchase and download music on iOS devices through 3G cellular networks rather than just wireless hotspots, as before. The story also quoted Apple’s Senior iTunes Director for the Asia, Pacific, and Canada region Peter Lowe, who confirmed that iTunes Match would roll out to iTunes Japan in the second half of this year.
“We are keeping good relationship with Japanese music publishers,” said Lowe as he highlighted that iTunes Japan’s catalog now includes Sony Music’s Western artists, such as Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, and Sade. Interestingly, Apple did not allow the music journal to publish Lowe’s mug shot. In case you were wondering, iTunes in the Cloud files as the first-ever music re-downloading service in Japan. The iTunes Store launched in Japan in 2005…
Another publication chimed in and said the Mastered for iTunes service for music publishers (iTunes link) and Complete My Album option in iTunes are now available to Japanese customers as well. Additionally, all music on the Japanese iTunes Music Store is now provided as DRM-free 256Kbps AAC iTunes Plus tracks—provided labels updated their content. Finally, customers can now purchase and download ringtones using desktop or mobile iTunes apps. Confirming the aforementioned updates, Apple published a new What’s New in iTunes page on its Japanese website. The company is not standing still in other markets, launching this morning an exclusive ringtone deal for 27 songs by The Beatles. The offer is available through iTunes in the United States and the United Kingdom only.
Hat tip to our reader Simon Wu!