iTunes Music Store Brings Downloads Down Under

Apple's wildly popular iTunes Music Store was finally launched in Australia today, a full year after it it's initial launch was abandoned due to a protracted disagreement with several participating music labels.

Downloading music by Sri Chinmoy

Despite at the time widespread announcements of the launch throughout the Australia and New Zealand media, and the fact that a handful of earlybird customers were even able to sign up and download music, the iTunes Music Store was withheld from Antipodean consumers for a further year due to protracted negotiations over pricing structures, with at least two major labels reported to be resisting Apple's insistence upon a flat rate per song for downloads—a highly successful feature of its stores elsewhere.

The store launched today with the controversial flat rate intact, but perhaps not so unexpectedly without the participation of music giant Sony-BMG, who are said to still be in negotiations with Apple over the format of the digital files used in the store.

Sri Chinmoy's music on iTunes

Of particular interest to members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre, as well as fans of Sri Chinmoy's inspirational music, is the fact that the iTunes Music Store has offered a number of recordings for sale by Sri Chinmoy for over a year now, with titles such as “Flute Music for Meditation”, “Royal Albert Hall London”, “Everest-Aspiration” and “Oneness-Bliss-Abode” all readily available for download.

Unfortunately, New Zealand members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre who intend to take devotional music into the digital age will have to wait just a little bit longer, with today's launch of the iTunes Store only for Australian consumers.

That's the official line, and with no reports as to when the New Zealand launch will be, and despite the fact that recording rights in New Zealand are identical to those Australia—the two countries are to all intents and purposes a single market, many music enthusiasts have been driven to exploit a loophole that exists in the Australian store allowing New Zealand residents to register themselves as inhabitants of Australia, albeit living in a city named “New Zealand”. This enterprising reporter was able to purchase Sri Chinmoy's “Flute Music for Meditation” as a resident of New South Wales, Australia, despite sitting down in front of a computer to do so in Wellington, New Zealand.

And what price a songful of samadhi?. A$1.69 a song and just a finger click away.