iTunes store opens for Ireland

7 Jan 2005

Apple’s iTunes store for Ireland went live last night, has learned. The long-awaited opening of the online store will give Irish music lovers access to more than 700,000 tracks for 99 cent a song. learned last night that some form of agreement has been reached between Apple and the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) and that since midnight Irish iPod owners can now browse through more than 700,000 songs on the iTunes store and download individual tracks for 99 cent per song or an entire album for €9.99. The store contains a number of exclusive tracks from well-known Irish artists, including The Pogues, The Corrs and U2.

The move comes as a much anticipated relief to Irish music fans who, unlike most of western Europe, were prevented until now from buying music off iTunes.

In October, originally reported how negotiations with IMRO concerning copyright and royalty collection were unconcluded at the time of the unveiling of the EU iTunes Music Store, preventing Irish iPod owners from either buying U2’s new album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb from iTunes or buying the band’s 400-song digital box set. At the time, U2 had entered into a branding agreement with Apple to market a special U2-branded iPod.

In late October, Apple launched the EU version of its revolutionary iTunes Music Store to music fans in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, enabling music fans to buy songs for 99 cent each. The Music Store was already available in the UK, Germany and France. It is understood that the failure to resolve copyright issues with IMRO prevented the Republic of Ireland from being among the countries to enjoy the use of the iTunes store.

A spokesman for Apple refused to comment on the agreement struck between Apple and IMRO.

The introduction of the iPod by Apple has been an unprecedented success and it is believed that the computer maker now sells more music players than computers. In December, a US-based music purchaser downloaded the 200 millionth track from iTunes since its launch. The 200 millionth song was a track from the 400-song digital box set The Complete U2.

A source close to Apple told “Apple is committed to rolling out iTunes in every country in the world, some countries take a little longer and we’re happy that it is now available in Ireland.”

By John Kennedy