Apple launches iTunes store in the UAE

Launch expected to give a boost to iPhone 5 sales in the region

Article Scource:  Gulf News | By Naushad K. Cherrayil, Staff Reporter |Published: 19:20 December 4, 201

Dubai: Music lovers in the UAE and certain parts of the region can now officially purchase music on Apple’s online store through its iTunes software available on most Apple devices.

The iTunes service has been a hit globally, where users can buy popular music for as cheap as 99 cents apiece. However, now users can buy and pay for the music content in local currency.

Although officially launched in the UAE, consumers here are still waiting for iPhone5, the latest product from Apple. The launch of iTunes is expected to give a boost to iPhone 5 sales in the region.

Prices for individual artists are between Dh4.09 and Dh4.99 while albums range between Dh17.99 and Dh29.99.

Both Arabic and English titles are present but the UAE store does not offer as much variety as in the US.

“We are happy for Apple to launch iTunes officially in the UAE and have been waiting for a very long time,” Claudius Boller, business development director at Universal Music Mena, told Gulf News.

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Competition to hot up

He said other platforms will also launch online music in the future and consumers can benefit from the variety.

“We have tied up with HP to offer HP Play where users can download music for a monthly fee or for each song. The service has been accepted by the users as we have the largest music tiles in the world,” he added.

iTunes already offers many Universal Music tiles and that is set to grow in the near future.

The launch of iTunes will “definitely increase competition in the market as demand for music is growing in the region,” Boller said.

He said about 99 per cent of the music is pirated in the Middle East and the industry is losing a lot of revenue due to piracy.

Cheaper downloads

“Pricing of models like iTunes are expensive for people to afford here, so we are helping everyone to have cheaper downloads in this region,” Boller said.

The demand for music is growing in the region and it is going to be a “big market in the future. In two years, the music industry in digital distribution will be completely changed in the Middle East,” he said.

“This is a good opportunity for music fans to access legal digital music in the region. We need more legal music platforms to be available in the region to benefit end-users,” Boller said.

Apple has launched iTunes in Russia, Turkey, India, South Africa and 52 other countries, featuring an incredible selection of local and international music labels.

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