Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Apple may launch its iTunes Music Store in Latin America on December 8th amid regional push

Is Apple about to give a big commercial push in Latin America? While there aren’t any official confirmations yet, rumors have become more and more persistent and precise.

As The Next Web reported a couple weeks ago, rumor has it that iTunes will soon include a Music Store in Brazil. At the moment, Apple’s clients are only able to buy apps and books.

According to the weekly Brazilian magazine Veja, the launch of iTunes Music Store even has a date, being scheduled for December 8th. While it seems very soon, Apple has been getting ready beyond the scenes and already closed deals with Brazilian music labels, Veja said.

If you remember iTunes’ marketing stunt around the Beatles, you won’t be surprised to hear Apple plans to do something similar in Brazil. According to Veja’s journalist Lauro Jardim, iTunes’ catalogue will include songs by the popular crooner Roberto Carlos. Extremely popular in Latin America, he hasn’t released his albums digitally on any site yet, and it would be a great coup to offer these for iTunes’ launch.

It’s not only about Brazil: Veja followed up on its initial piece today, declaring that the Store will launch all across Latin America on the same date, except in Mexico where it is already available.

There’s a catch though; according to the magazine, clients will only be able to pay in dollars with international credit cards. That’s a huge limitation in a region where many people don’t have a credit card – in Brazil for instance, only 72% do, although the proportion is likely much higher among Apple devices’ owners.

This payment system could also be very temporary. Veja believes that Apple will be able to bill customers in their local currency in about six months, and other rumors seem to point in the same direction.

The magazine Epoca heard of Apple’s plans to open a regional office in Sao Paulo. Or could it be Chile? According to the Chilean journalist Alejandro Alaluf, “Apple is officially settling in Chile, with offices, legal registration and everything.”

While the Latin American country where Apple could be based remains subject to caution, something certainly seems to be in the works.

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