Of Apple, Microsoft, and Australian music stores


blog We present the following three items of evidence for your consideration.

1. In a media release issued on 25 October 2005, Apple announced that it would launch its iTunes Music Store in Australia, featuring individual songs priced at $1.69 and albums at $16.99. “We’re thrilled to bring the revolutionary iTunes Music Store to Australia,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes, at the time. “iTunes features the largest catalogue of local and international music in Australia with over one million songs, enabling music fans to purchase their favourites with one click and have them automatically sync to their iPod.”

2. In a media briefing last week (October 2011), Microsoft revealed it would launch its Zune Music Pass subscription music service in Australia. It initially stated that the service would not allow individual purchasing of songs and albums, but later backtracked on the issue, acknowledging in a statement to blogger Long Zheng that there would be individual purchasing.

3. The authorised biography of Steve Jobs published last week contains the following paragraphs, detailing Jobs’ 2002 battle with music studios over the launch of the iTunes Music Store, which came after the failure of several previous subscription music services launched by Sony, Universal, AOL Time Warner and more:

Jobs’ proposal was to sell digital songs for 99 cents — a simple and impulsive purchase. The record companies would get 70 cents of that. Jobs insisted that this would be more appealing than the monthly subscription model preferred by the music companies.

He believed that people had an emotional connection to the songs they loved. They wanted to own ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ and ‘Shelter from the Storm’, not just rent them. As he told Jeff Goodell of Rolling Stone at the time, “I think you could make available the Second Coming in a subscription model and it might not be successful.”

In short … some six years after Apple launched its online music store in Australia, a store which sold billions of songs, Microsoft is following suit, using a subscription model which Steve Jobs rejected almost a decade ago, and which had publicly failed several times. And Microsoft is still not quite sure whether the ‘per song’ pricing model works.



  1. I tried the subscription hybrid ssyte, with the Sony Bandit.fm site. Never streamed as it was harder to get streaming as a lot of work to set up.

    A Last.FM with purchases would be more up my alley.

    • I agree. I’m looking for Spotify’s boat to finally arrive, but in the mean time I’m sure both Aussie owners of Windows phones are celebrating Zune’s arrival.

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