Looks like Apple’s iTunes music service is coming to Russia, if today’s report is to be believed. According to a tipster, Apple has invited a small group of people to an iTunes event in Moscow on the evening of December 4. Rumors first began circulating of a possible iTunes launch in the country back in November, when a Russian blog spotted that iTunes music was starting to surface in the country, with a search in the App Store for music returning a link to what appeared to be an iTunes portal…
TechCrunch first reported of Apple’s invitation which mentions an iTunes music event to be held December 4 at one of the city’s swanky shopping centers, GUM, located on Moscow’s Red Square. The communication was sent Irina Efremova, who is one of Apple’s PR people in the country.
Russian language web site Vedomosti claimed individual iTunes song will sell for 11- to 20 rubles, or approximately 35 to 65 cents, which is significantly cheaper than prices in the US iTunes Store. The publication also wrote back in November that Apple’s SVP Eddy Cue, who runs iTunes and has been tasked with fixing Maps and Siri, would personally unveil iTunes Russia along with iTunes Europe Director Ben King.
Apple and Russia have had a somewhat rocky relationship thus far.
Despite Apple’s gadgets being snapped up by the Russia elite and wealthy, the Russian Chamber for Patent Disputes rejected the iPad patent appeal, ruling it involves a design that is “traditional for modern communication devices, manufactured by different vendors”.
Industry sources also blamed Apple’s arrogance in dealing with carriers for low iPhone penetration in the 142 million people market of Russia.
It’s a welcome sign that Eddy Cue is expanding iTunes presence and adding more markets. Competition in the music space is heating up, with services like Pandora, Spotify and Rdio stealing customers with affordable all-you-can-eat monthly plans priced between $10 and $15.
Additionally, Microsoft recently launched the Xbox Music service which plays on Windows 8 integration. The software maker is apparently working on iOS and Android apps and The Next Web claimed today that a scan-and-match feature is coming to Xbox Music via SkyDrive.
Apple, of course, offers iTunes Match, a scan-and-match iCloud service, for $25 a year.