Showtime Networks said today it has selected Apple gift cards and iTunes Music Store gift certificates for the company’s first quarter 2005 acquisition campaign. Qualified consumers who sign up to receive Showtime programing and subscribe for at least three months, will get a $25 iTunes Music Store gift certificate or a $25 gift card good at any of Apple’s retail stores in the U.S. The promotional period runs from now through March 31, 2005.
The California Tree Fruit Agreement and Apple have teamed up to offer free music downloads from the iTunes Music Store with the purchase of California peaches, plums and nectarines. The number of songs to be given away and the size of the purchase needed to qualify for the giveaway have not been set. In-store promotions are expected by early summer. “It’s a little difficult… to sell a message about health, and this is something just a little bit more fun,” said Marilyn Dolan, tree fruit spokeswoman. “We are hoping it’s something new and different enough that people will take notice.”
Apple said today that more than 200 million songs have been purchased and downloaded from the iTunes Music Store. The 200 millionth song was part of The Complete U2 and was purchased by Ryan Alekman from Belchertown, MA. “iTunes has now sold over 200 million songs, making it the world’s number one online music store by far,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re thrilled to be making music an even more popular gift this holiday season with iTunes and iPod.”
Apple and PayPal today announced that the US iTunes Music Store now accepts PayPal for purchases of music, audiobooks and gift certificates. Starting today, PayPal users can shop at the store with a credit card, bank account or stored account balance. “We are thrilled that PayPal users can now buy their music on the world’s number one online music store,” said Todd Pearson, general manager of PayPal’s Merchant Services. “PayPal’s virtual wallet offers iTunes customers the convenience of paying in the way they prefer.” The first 500,000 customers to open a new iTunes account in the US using PayPal as their form of payment before March 31, 2005, will receive five free songs.
Apple’s iTunes Music Store and Napster 2.0 are the most recognized online music services, according to a new study from global marketing research firm Ipsos-Insight. “New findings from TEMPO, the company’s quarterly study of digital music behaviors, reveal that in summer 2004, American downloaders aged 12 and older were equally as likely to be aware of Napster 2.0 and Apple’s iTunes on a top-of-mind basis (20% each). However, when prompted with brand names, about four out of five (79%) downloaders recognize the Napster 2.0 brand, while nearly half (46%) are aware of iTunes.”
Apple has now opened the much-anticipated Canadian version of the iTunes Music Store. Individual songs are priced at CDN$0.99 each. As previously reported, Apple announced in October that it would launch a store in Canada before the end of November. With that deadline coming and going without an announcement, Apple stated earlier today that customers would see a Canadian store “very soon.”
Update: Apple has now officially announced the store. “The demand across Canada for the iTunes Music Store has been overwhelming,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of applications. “We are excited to be able to offer music fans in Canada their own customized iTunes Music Store featuring many top Canadian artist exclusives.” The new store features over 700,000 songs and offers the same personal use rights as in the US and Europe.
Apple has confirmed that it will not meet its November deadline for a Canadian version of the iTunes Music Store. “We said that we would launch the iTunes Music Store in Canada by the end of November, but we’re going to miss this deadline by a bit,” Apple said in a statement. “You’ll hear from us very soon.” The company did not provide a specific release date or reason for the delay.
Apple plans to open a Japanese version of its iTunes Music Store by March 2005, the Nihon Keizai newspaper reported on Thursday. The newspaper said that Apple is planning to offer more than 100,000 mostly Japanese tracks. The iTunes Music Store is currently available in the US and 12 European countries. A Canadian store is expected to open before the end of the month.
Engadget has posted iPodDownload 1.1, a new version of the iTunes plug-in that allows you to transfer songs from any iPod to your iTunes library. As noted earlier this week, iTunes 4.7 disables iPodDownload—but this update adds support for the latest version of Apple’s jukebox application. Engadget suggests user “come and get it quick” before Apple steps in and stops the distribution of the update.
MacMinute reports that Apple has begun blocking users of iTunes 4.2 or lower from making purchases from the iTunes Music Store, and is encouraging users to upgrade. “As of today, customers will need to use one of the three most recent versions of iTunes—4.7, 4.6 or 4.5—to continue purchasing and downloading songs,” Apple said in a statement. “Less than 5% of all iTunes customers are using the old iTunes 4.2 version, so asking them to upgrade to the free iTunes 4.7 is no big deal. iTunes 4.7 is a free download and includes innovative features such as iMix, Party Shuffle, CD Insert Printing, and support for the complete line of iPods including the new iPod Photo.”
According to Engadget, iTunes 4.7 disables iPodDownload, the iTunes plug-in that allows users to transfer songs from any iPod to your iTunes library. Apple allows an iPod to be associated with only one iTunes music library at a time in order to prevent the device from being used to transfer songs to any Mac.
iTunes lets you create libraries of your favorite music which you can play on your computer or portable MP3 player. You can even burn your own custom CDs with the push of a button.
What’s New: iTunes has been updated to include support for moving photos to iPod photo, better handling of duplicate songs, and a mini player in the Windows task bar. In addition to the U.K, France, and Germany, the iTunes Music Store is now available in the following European countries: Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. It now has Artist Alerts (notification when new material from your favorite artists is added to the store), and the ability to search for iMixes by title.
Apple-X reports that “Apple director of QuickTime product marketing, Frank Casanova, will deliver a keynote speech at the Cellular Telephone and Internet Association (CTIA’s) Wireless IT and Entertainment 2004 [today] in San Francisco.” Casanova is expected to announce Apple’s support for a next-generation AAC encoding format with superior compression, ready for use on cellular networks.
“The latest Media Center PCs from HP come with a special iTunes-related feature built into Microsoft’s new Windows XP Media Center Edition software. The computer maker created the feature, called HP Tunes, to let users of its Media Center PCs play songs and playlists from iTunes within the Windows Media Center interface, the special Microsoft software designed to be controlled using a remote while sitting back in a chair or couch in the living room. [...]
Without the HP Tunes feature, Media Center PC users would need to exit the Windows Media Center interface and use the ordinary Windows desktop to access their iTunes music. That’s because Microsoft’s music software doesn’t play songs encoded in the AAC format that Apple uses.”
Apple’s iTunes and Steve Jobs have been nominated for several awards in the Billboard 2004 Digital Entertainment Awards. iTunes has been nominated for “Innovator of the Year” and it’s up against BitTorrent, Sony Eyetoy, and XM Radio. iTunes has also been nominated in the “Best Downloadable or Subscription Music Service” category with competitors Musicmatch on Demand, Napster, and Rhapsody by Real Networks. Apple has been nominated for “Brand of the Year” competing against EA Sports, Virgin Mobile and XM Satellite Radio. The “Visionary of the Year” category nominees are Steve Jobs - CEO, Apple/CEO, Pixar; Mark Cuban - Chairman, HDNet; Rob Glaser - Chairman & CEO, Real Networks and Will Wright - Game Designer (SimCity and The Sims). The awards will commence on November 5 in Los Angeles.
Users of iTunes 4.5 or earlier are being urged by Apple to upgrade to 4.6 in order to access the iTunes Music Store. The warning reads, “You are using a version of iTunes that will soon no longer be supported. Upgrade today to take advantage of the latest application features and music store enhancements.”
The Broadband from BT Digital Music Awards 2004 has awarded the iTunes Music Store “Best Download Music Service.” iTunes beat competitors Napster, Sony Connect, MyCokeMusic and KarmaDownload for the award.
Entertainment production company Cinemafactory has placed a casting call on Cragslist seeking “unique and interesting” people for an upcoming iTunes commercial. “Are you addicted to iTunes? Do you take your iPod everywhere? The CinemaFactory is looking for dancers, performers, and uniquely talented people of all ethnicities and ages who enjoy using iTunes/iPods for an upcoming non-union commercial shooting in early November in Los Angeles.”
Note: iLounge’s publisher, Dennis Lloyd will be attending the event and may be participating in the commercial.
“Apple today announced that music fans have purchased and downloaded more than 150 million songs from the iTunes Music Store, marking another major milestone for the online music business. The 150 millionth song was “Ex-Factor