Apple launches iTunes in New Zealand

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Screenshot of Apple welcoming New Zealand to its online stores.

Apple Computers announced today that it's long awaited iTunes store is available to New Zealanders. They also launched the online Apple Store New Zealand which provides Apple products, such as iPods, Mac minis, etc. New Zealand is number 22 on the number of countries who have the iTunes store and the tenth music download store in New Zealand.

The launch means that New Zealanders can now download music to transfer to their iPods, legally. However the music is only available to iPod's as converting the music to the MP3 standard for other MP3 players is illegal in New Zealand. Some music download sites in New Zealand support MP3 formats, like Digirama which sell their music tracks for $1.75.

The New Zealand iTunes store provides the most digital music tracks in New Zealand at around two million and each song costs NZ$1.79 or a music video costs $3.59 of which there around thousands, an album will usually cost about $17.99 and a game will cost $7.99. The music tracks also include New Zealand artists such as Brooke Fraser, Tim Finn, Fat Freddy's Drop, etc and also includes international exclusive albums such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ben Harper, etc.

Eddy Cue, vice president of Apple, said: "We're thrilled to bring the iTunes Store and the online Apple Store to our customers in New Zealand just in time for the holidays."

There were rumours surrounding the launch of a New Zealand iTunes store this week.

The podcast section on iTunes also covers a wide range of podcasts, equalling over 65,000. The New Zealand podcasts include such companies as TVNZ (Television New Zealand), Radio New Zealand and The Voice Booth.

It is commonly believed that the reason the store was halted until now was because Apple has to make separate contracts with each recording company in each country.

iTunes is likely to become the dominant music download store in New Zealand, following the trend of other countries.

The special edition iPod nano has also been released in New Zealand. The special edition is red in colour instead of the normal white and black colours. The special iPod is available only on the online store at the same price as the normal iPod nanos but some of the profit goes to help fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Renaissance is New Zealand's distributor of Apple goods and will still keep its contract despite Renaissance not being directly involved in both of the new online stores. Renaissance said: "New Zealand will now come under Apple's worldwide pricing model."