Continuing with an aggressive expansion plan kicked off earlier this year, Apple announced the launch of its iTunes Store in a total of 56 countries today, bringing the number of supported markets up to 119. The announcement almost doubles its reach in one fell swoop and comes just a few days after the Cupertino-based company released a new version of its iTunes software for Windows and OS X.
Those in Russia, Turkey, India and Indonesia will get access to music, movies and apps. The remaining 52 countries will have access to music and apps only, with movies reportedly coming later for select countries. Content availability is likely to vary by region due to licensing and market particularities.
Sales of individual track downloads have slowed down in the U.S. with the arrival of streaming services Spotify or Rdio. But the format is doing well in other markets like Latin America, where iTunes arrived in January 2012.
The latest expansion will represent a challenge for Apple given the rampant piracy in countries like Indonesia, India and Russia, but the company appears ready to tackle the problem head on with services like iTunes Match, which scans people’s local music libraries and makes the songs available from the cloud upgraded to 256kbps AAC files -- even songs that have been downloaded illegally -- for a $25 yearly fee.