Shortly before Apple’s special music event on Tuesday featuring Bono and The Edge from U2, the iTunes Music Store was updated with links to allow residents of nine new European countries to buy music online. In addition to the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, iTunes now supports Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. At long last, Apple also announced plans to bring the iTunes Music Store to Canada in November.
Apple first launched the iTunes Music Store in 2003 in the United States, and in June, 2004 brought the music download service to the United Kingdom, France and Germany. This latest move opens up iTunes downloads for many other member states of the European Union — in fact, most of the original “EU15” states are now covered except for Sweden, Denmark and Ireland. Apple claims that the iTunes Music Store now reaches almost 70 percent of the global music market.
The EU iTunes Music Store features more than 700,000 songs from the four major commercial music companies and more than 100 independent record labels, according to Apple, along with a exclusive tracks from a variety of popular artists. The songs are priced at €0.99 per track, and the store employs the same personal use rights as its counterparts in the US, UK, France and Germany.