Apple faces Australian iTunes skirmish

Apple faces new competition down under as local ISP Telstra BigPond launches its own digital music service to compete with the still young (in Australia) iTunes.

Telstra BigPond has reached a deal with all the major labels and many independents in order to offer music through its service, which will offer “over one million tracks” by January 2009, the company promised.

Music will be made available DRM-free in order to side-step iTunes while being available to play on any device.

BigPond group managing director Justin Milne said: “”BigPond now gives iPod users an alternative place to purchase their favourite music in a format that will work on their player. We’re changing the online music game by creating a truly open world that puts consumers in the driving seat.”

Warner Music Australia chief executive Ed St John said: “The future of the music industry relies on the growth in legitimate digital music sales.”

Apple this week launched its film and TV download service through iTunes Australia, a move which has prompted speculation its new Australian competitor also plans to add video to its mix of available content.

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