iTunes Japan Actually Happened After All


Back in June, I wrote that Apple was supposed to be bringing iTMS to Japan in August, but soon updated that post to note that according to an article in the Register, it was all rubbish.

Apple Japan Home Page
Apple Japan’s home page today

Well it seems that it was true after all. According to this article in the Asahi Shinbun, at a presentation on 4th August in Tokyo, Steve Jobs announced the launch of iTMS Japan, the company now having concluded negotiations with 15 major record companies for the supply of around 1 million tracks, although that figure will grow. The delay in launching is attributed solely to negotiations with record companies dragging on.

Songs are priced between ¥150 and ¥200 (£0.76-£1.01; $1.34-$1.79), somewhat more expensive than those sold at the American iTMS and possibly also those of the UK. Apple, the article notes, had wanted to have one price for all tracks, but faced opposition from record companies and performers’ organisations. That said, it appears that 90% of the tracks are to be priced at ¥150.

iTMS Japan
iTMS Japan

Apple has reached agreements with Avex Tracks, Toshiba EMI and Columbia Music Entertainment, although Sony Entertainment – the biggest record company – is still holding out, as Sony is pushing its own service, Mora, which currently provides something over 150,000 tracks for OpenMG-compatible players. Yes, it’s not even WMA – Sony are that proprietary.

It is hard at this stage to say if or when Sony will come on board. Anyone remotely familiar with the company will know that they have a history of doggedly sticking to their own technologies (Memory Stick and ATRAC spring to mind, but there are plenty of others), despite facing superior competition. In the past, their reputation has allowed them some leeway, but this battle maybe one that they cannot win.

Apple’s press release (in English) announcing the launch is here.



I am also trying to figure out how to use Japanese iTunes from outside of the country. I found some sites which sell Japanese gift cards and one which said that you could reach the Japan iTunes site by selecting 日本 from the store menu at the bottom of the page. However, when I select Japan, the page refreshes, and I am still on the US iTunes page. I am afraid to download a second iTunes version (the Japanese one), for fear that it may override and/or conflict with my current iTunes file. Any advice would be much appreciated!


I wanted to know if there was any way that I could access Japan’s music store (I’m in the U.S.) because the U.S.’s iTunes music store sucks when you try looking for J-pop and J-rock music. Actually, looking for Japanese music is kinda hard. At least they’ve broadened their horizons and adopted some Japanese songs but they still don’t have what I REALLY want. So can you help me? I need to know ^-^

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