Could the iTunes store be coming to Russia as early as this week? One of the few places in the world where you can’t buy music through Apple, might finally be coming into the fold, if a music in Moscow tomorrow is about unveiling iTunes, that is.
From TechCrunch this morning. Their sources in Russia let them know about a small media event for iTunes at a large Russian mall tomorrow (December 4th in Russia). Since iTunes isn’t in Russia right now (the App Store is), and Apple is trying to boost its market share higher that 2%, it makes sense to move into Russia. Why? Well there is this:
On the one hand it has huge potential: Figures from GP Bullhound in April noted that Russia was already Europe’s biggest Internet market, at 53 million users. But with a monthly growth rate of about 14 percent (compared to 6 percent on average in Europe) that figure will be even bigger at this point.
But as the TC also points out, moving into Russia is a problematic move for Apple (and music companies):
But on the other hand, Russia presents big challenges. The country is notorious for music piracy, with the Intellectual Property Alliance naming Russia as one of its worst offenders when it comes to illegal, unauthorized content. One of the big delays for Apple in launching iTunes has apparently been negotiations with music labels over rights for the store.
No one really wants to move into a market where allowing people to buy your work could lead to more people stealing it, but the Russian Bear is getting too big for the world to ignore. A challenge for Apple. Certainly. An opportunity. Equal certainty.
We’ll update you as this plays out.
Photo of Red Square from Flickr by waldec.