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Apple eyes early 2005 Japanese iTMS opening

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.

iPodDownload returns with update

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.

Older versions of iTunes being blocked from iTMS

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.”

iTunes 4.7 disables iPodDownload

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.

Mac|Windows: iTunes 4.7 released

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 launches EU iTunes Music Store

“Apple today launched a European Union version of its revolutionary iTunes Music Store, giving music fans in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain the same innovative features and breakthrough price of €0.99 per song that have made iTunes the number one online music service in the world. With Apple’s legendary ease of use, pioneering features such as iMix playlist sharing, seamless integration with iPod and groundbreaking personal use rights, the iTunes Music Store is the best way for PC and Mac users to legally discover, purchase and download music online. Apple today also announced it will launch the iTunes Music Store in Canada in November.”

Apple to announce AAC+

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.

HP Tunes links iTunes to XP Media Center

“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.”

iTunes nominated for Billboard Digital Entertainment Awards

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.

Older iTunes versions denied iTMS access

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.”

iTunes named “Best Download Music Service”

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.

Want to be in an iTunes commercial?

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.

iTunes Music Store tops 150 million songs downloaded

“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

iTunes dominates 70% of legal music downloads

According to new data reported from analyst firm NPD Group, iTunes remains the leader in legal downloads by retaining a 70 percent market share for digital downloads between December 2003 and July 2004. Napster had a 11 percent share for the same period and MusicMatch, RealNetworks and Wal-Mart each had six percent share.

Apple posts new U2 iPod commercial

picApple has posted a new extended iPod commercial starring U2 in the iTunes Music Store. The ad features the boys of U2 as silouettes peforming their new song “Vertigo.”

iTunes planned for EU expansion in October

“Apple Computer is planning the next wave of expansion for its popular iTunes online music store with a multi-country European launch in October, the service’s chief architect said on Wednesday.

“We are well on pace to launch more EU stores. We will do it next month,” Eddie Cue, Apple’s vice president of applications told music executives at the annual Popkomm conference in the German capital.”

iTunes accused of overcharging UK customers

“Apple’s iTunes music download service has been accused by the Consumers’ Association of overcharging UK users.

The group accused the service of charging UK-based customers nearly 20% more than those with addresses and payment details in France or Germany.”

TunesTracker email service alerts you to iTunes music

“TunesTracker.com makes the iTunes Music Store even better by keeping music fans up-to-date about their favorite artists. The service is free.

After registering with TunesTracker, users can enter the names of up to 50 of their favorite music groups. Once a day, TunesTracker checks the iTunes Music Store for new songs by those artists. When there is something new, TunesTracker sends an e-mail alert listing the vital information about the new tunes, including the song title, album name, and composer. By clicking a link, users can open the song in the iTunes Music Store, listen to a clip, and buy the song.”

New software allows iTunes music on non-iPod devices

“A German company is offering what it claims is a legal method of making iTunes Music Store music playable on devices other than the iPod.

RapidSolution Software claims its Windows only software, Tunebite, ‘legally provides the user with new music files without restrictions’.”

iTunes Japan delayed by ‘inadequate DRM’

“According to the report, ITMS Japan has met with opposition from a number of local music labels who claim that FairPlay is “inadequate” and are thus refusing to license their songs to Apple.

At issue is the Mac maker’s insistence that consumer should be allowed to burn downloaded songs to CD, a facility offered by the US, UK, German and France versions of ITMS.”

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