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iTunes store comes to Australia

Apple opens up its online music venue for buyers Down Under, but don't go looking for tunes from Sony BMG.

SYDNEY, Australia--Apple on Tuesday launched the long-awaited iTunes Music Store in Australia, despite failing to come to a licensing agreement with music heavyweight Sony BMG.

Songs are priced at A$1.69 (US$1.27), videos at A$3.39 and most albums at A$16.99.

The move--foreshadowed by ZDNet Australia last week--finally means iPod owners can legally download music to their players, with more than 1 million songs available through the store.

However, Apple's iTunes vice president, Eddy Cue, acknowledged to a press conference in here Tuesday morning that the properties of Sony BMG Music Entertainment Australia--whose artists include Pete Murray and Franz Ferdinand--were not available through the iTunes Music Store.

"We have all (major) labels except for Sony," he said. "We are working with Sony and we know their artists would like to be a part of the launch and we hope they will join us."

Cue declined to comment on the negotiations between the companies.

iTunes for Mac and Windows includes access to the iTunes Music Store and is available as a free download.

Apple said personal use rights allowed users to play songs on up to five PCs, burn a single song onto CDs an unlimited number of times, burn a given playlist up to seven times and listen to their music on an unlimited number of iPods.

Australian artists feature heavily on the home page of the store, which includes local talent such as Missy Higgins, Ben Lee, Powderfinger and Kylie Minogue. Over 1,000 music videos and six short movies from Pixar Animation Studios can also be purchased at A$3.39 for viewing on the recently released video-capable iPod.

Iain Ferguson and Munir Kotadia of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.