“Let’s see here, Cat Power, Cat Stevens, Purrs… Ooo, Meatloaf!” by Lazy~Lightning
UPDATE: This blog post was written one year ago on September 2006. I now believe the Apple iTunes store may be opening in Singapore in 2008, but as with news of this nature, please take it with a grain of salt.
It’s unfortunate but true. Despite the exciting news that come with iTunes 7, it looks like Singapore isn’t going to get their own iTunes store anytime soon. Apple’s reason? Rampant piracy in most of Asia. Australia and Japan are the only Pan-Pacific countries that have their own iTunes stores. You can read the full story from Straits Times below (via Otterman on ME@N).
Frankly speaking, I think this is really more of an appearance issue. It’s a fact that piracy is everywhere (even in America), but what makes most Asian countries more susceptible to the impression of piracy is that you’ll find digital media being ripped and sold on the streets. It’s interesting because a lot piracy actually happens online (e.g. via p2p file sharing, bittorrent) and it’s the more developed countries that can engage in this activity because of their high bandwidth internet connections.
For the third-world countries, their household internet connectivity might not be as fast or even stable, and as such you’ll see alternative channels of piracy happening, mostly as organized piracy rings copying and selling copyright content on recordable media (CD-Rs/DVD-Rs). Given a choice, it’s pretty obvious that people wouldn’t want to pay for pirated content. This piracy issue only serves to worsen the digital divide, and I think some form of activism needed to fix this global problem.
The Straits Times, Sep 14, 2006
Apple rules out iPod movies for Asia
HONG KONG – Apple Computer’s new iTunes movie service will not be available in much of Asia with no prospect of its roll-out in the near future, a company spokesman said.
The California company launched the latest addition to its hugely successful Music Store online download service in the United States this week.
It is offering scores of movies old and new owned by the Disney corporation.
Due to fears of rampant piracy in Asia and a tangle over licensing agreements with record and movie companies, the world’s fastest growing digital market has been shut out.
‘We cannot comment on the specifics but it is true that iTunes is not available in Asia,’ Apple’s marketing director for Asia, Tony Li said. ‘That goes for music and movies.’
In the Asia-Pacific region, iTunes is available only in Australia and Japan, the world’s second largest consumer of music after the United States.
Even in Japan, some labels have refused to allow their songs onto the service.
The new movie download service will allow US users to buy current movies for US$12.99 (S$20.50) in the first week of release and US$14.99 after through the iTunes programme. Archived movies will sell for US$9.99.
So far only movies from Disney – including films from Pixar, Touchstone, and Miramax studios – are available. Other companies are in negotiation to provide content.
The plan was rolled out as Apple launched its remodelled iPod range.
Through iTunes, Apple has about 70 per cent of the music download market.