Apples for Aussies

Online music giant heads to Oz

SYDNEY — Apple launched its iTunes online music store in Oz on Tuesday, bringing the number of countries served by the music download store to 21.

Low-key launch kicked off with a million songs at 6 a.m. local time, and barely a second passed before the first download was under way. Songs cost A$1.69 ($1.27) or $12.70 for an album. Musicvids are available for $2.54.

“iTunes features the largest catalog of local and international music in Australia,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s iTunes topper.

However, there is one notable exception to the iTunes lineup: Music giant Sony BMG has yet to strike a deal with Apple to provide its catalog.

The music conglom’s absence means many of Oz’s top artists are not available on iTunes, including the current No. 1 album “Lift” by Aussie rocker Shannon Noll.

“We are very close to making a decision, and we hope to be involved really soon,” Emmanuel Candi, Sony BMG’s topper of business strategy and human resources, told Daily Variety, stressing the company is supportive of the online market. “We have just passed our 2 millionth digital sale in Australia, and we welcome Apple to the market.”

Negotiations between the two companies are taking place in New York.

Sony BMG already provides online downloads for telco Telstra’s Bigpond service, HMV Australia and Sanity.

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