Finally Here, Mostly Sort Of (6/15/04)

What can we say? June is being very good to us this year. Another week, another long-awaited Apple product or service finally coming to market; last week the company finally shipped the speed-bumped Power Macs we'd all been waiting for since Christmas or so, and today, at a high-profile media event in London, Steve ended fourteen solid months of anticipation when he finally unleashed the iTunes Music Store upon Europe, as first reported by faithful viewer Small Paul and confirmed by an Apple press release. That's right, folks, the impossible has happened: Euro iTMS is here!

Sort of.

The good news is, what Apple launched today is certainly no mere shadow of the original U.S. store. Feature-wise, it's practically identical; songs are playable on up to five computers, can be burned to CD as often as desired (with a seven-burn-per-playlist limit) and transferred to an infinite number of iPods (provided said iPods aren't busy racing the monkeys to finishing a script for Hamlet). Pricing isn't awful-- 79 pence per song for the Brits and 99 cents for everyone else-- and rather less than had been reported by some rumors that had made the rounds. Just like us Yanks, the Yurps get iMixes, Celebrity Playlists, audio books, gift certificates, allowances ("Monthly Gift" in the UK), music videos and movie trailers, exclusive songs, AOL integration... it's all there, with the apparent exception of the free Single of the Week. Not bad.

And yet, Euro iTMS is still only "sort of" here because it's actually only available to the UK, France, and Germany so far. Rampant anti-Italians-Greeks-'n'-Swedes discrimination up at One Infinite Loop, you charge? Au contraire, bub; if it were personal, there's no way that the UK would be in the first push, because if there's any nationality that has been consistently shafted by Steve over the years, it's the Brits. (Heck, look no further than the 20% higher per-song UK price for proof.) Frankly, we're amazed he had the courage to make a public appearance in London without speaking from within a bullet-proof Popemobile. Brave man. No, the reason why Apple chose to launch in those three countries first is a simple matter of priority: according to Steve (as quoted by Macworld UK), together they represent "over 62 per cent of Europe's music sales," so they're first up to bat.

Fair enough. But what about the remaining 38% of Europe anxious to populate their iPods with legal music while dispensing with all that tedious mucking about with shiny plastic discs? Fret not, Austrians/Finns/Spaniards/Poles/Liechtensteinians/etc.; Apple has a "pan-European" version of the iTMS simmering now that Steve hopes will be soup "by October." While a further four-month wait is no doubt a major disappointment to those of you non-British/French/German Europeans who were hoping to commence your unflagging slide into serious digital music-related debt starting today, cheer up; it could be worse.

For instance, you could be Canadian.

SceneLink (4757)
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far


The above scene was taken from the 6/15/04 episode:

June 15, 2004: The iTunes Music Store finally touches down in Europe-- or parts of it, anyway. Meanwhile, the new European stores seem a little light on the merchandise, and Apple's web site vanishes from the face of the 'net right at crunch time, thanks to an alleged DNS problem at Akamai...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4758: Reading Between The Lines (6/15/04)   Meanwhile, the more perceptive AtAT viewers out there may have inferred the significance of only a three-country Euro iTMS launch today and the deferment of a pan-European store until at least October: remember when Apple was allegedly negotiating with the record labels for Europe-wide licensing terms?...

  • 4759: C'mon-- What's In A Name? (6/15/04)   Ah, DNS: that seemingly innocuous 'net mechanism by which human-friendly (well, friendlier, anyway) domain names get translated into the raw numbers-'n'-dots IP addresses that make the virtual world go 'round...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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