Apple prepares for Tokyo music event

Apple Computer, Japan sent out invitations on Tuesday to select journalists inviting them to a special music event in Tokyo. The event will take place on August 4, at 10:00 am at the Tokyo International Forum. The event could mark the beginning of an Apple iTunes Music Store in Japan.

Apple’s iPod music player enjoys a significant amount of market share in Japan despite competition from local brands such as Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp.

One crucial piece of information that will be anticipated by prospective users is song pricing. Japanese services typically charge between ¥160 and ¥320 (US$1.50 and $3) per track. The price is determined by the record label and is some way from the $0.99 per song that Apple charges users in the U.S.

Pricing could be important to success of the service since local users have an alternative to illegal downloading should they want to get a song without buying the CD. In Japan rental of CDs is legal and the latest releases can be rented for a few hundred yen and copied at home.

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