Last week Apple Computer launched its iTunes online Music Store, which is accessible through Apple's iTunes 4 digital music jukebox software (for Macintosh), and allows iPod MP3 players via their Macs to scan a music catalog and purchase music titles for 99 cents per song title from that catalog. Apple's catalog features over 200,000 music titles, which can be paid for by credit card and then downloaded and burned onto CDs for personal use. Apple claims that in just its first week of operation it sold more than 1 million songs.
Apple's music content is legal: it has signed deals with Sony Music Entertainment, BMG, EMI, Universal and Warner for the rights to purchase and download the music content. Apple is also expected to add an additional 3,200 new sound tracks to its online Music Store catalog today.
As part of the iTunes Music Store launch, Apple also launched new, slimmer iPods with 10, 15 and 30-Gigabyte storage and an update of its streaming media software, QuickTime 6.2, which provides foundation support for iTunes 4 and Advanced Audio Codec formatting. Apple's launch has resulted in new orders for 110,000 iPods last week, and U.S. retail store sales of more than 20,000 iPods just over the weekend.
The iTunes Store launch ends industry scuttlebutt that Apple was in the process of acquiring Universal Music Group, a Vivendi Universal entity.
Look for THG to have a full review of the new iPod soon!