Again the news of a possible Apple's, industry leading, iTunes Music Store for the Japanese market is in the news. This rumor had been around for over a year now, each came with possible launch dates. The difference this time, is that the news is from the Asian recording company Avex (Chinese only site), which announced an agreement with Apple to distribute its holdings through Apple's iTunes Music Store starting August of this year. Of course, true to Apple's tradition, they have no comments on any unannounced product.
Given that Avex has one of the largest collection of works from Asian artists. The possibility of iTunes Music Stores exploding in the major Avex countries (Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Taiwan) is inevitable. I truly hope I am correct, since I have been waiting for iTMS to arrive in Hong Kong ever since iTMS was launched by Apple.
This is good news for all those music lovers (like myself) in Asia who want to and willing to purchase our music via the online medium.
It is not that there are not already legal downloads in Asia (for example EOLAsia), but the entry of the market leader into the area is definitely a significant indicator for all those record labels that are still on the fence.
While Asia is one of the most challenging market for companies like Apple to push legal downloads of content. I am sure all of Apple's competitors are watching to see how well Apple can pull this off. Since everyone knows that IP pirating is a major problem for most Asian countries.
When I used to work for SPSS, the Sales & Marketing team used to joke about the fact that they "sell a million copies of SPSS worldwide, but one to Asia".
Let's hope that the theory of "most people are honest and good" prevail and Apple can make these new Asian versions of the iTMS as successful as they did in the US and Europe.