Not one to let Netflix be the only company to launch its product in Latin American this year, Apple has finally brought its iTunes store to millions of customers in Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and 13 other countries. Free access to the service’s cloud-based storage and subscription-based iTunes Match are included, said the Cupertino company.
Apple believes the legality and low-cost of iTunes for Latin America, which offers more than 20 million songs for around 99 cents a piece, will help it take off in the region. But with Brazilians well-versed in pirating music, movies and software, a sea change in their attitude doesn’t seem likely.
Brazil has consistently ranked among the worst countries in terms of copyright infringement and counterfeiting.
Nevertheless, Brazilian Association of Record Producers President Paulo Rosa said he expects the new alternative will draw pirates away from the creature comforts of free stolen music.
“For 15 years there have been immeasurable losses to pirated CDs, and for 10 years to piracy carried out on the Internet,” said Rosa. “The more legal alternatives there are for the consumer, the better it is for the market.”
Select film and television content from Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. will also be available for residents of the 16 Latin American countries to rent or buy, Apple confirmed.
One benefit iTunes enjoys over the occasionally shady realm of music piracy is its lack of DRM; pirates needn’t fear accidentally downloading malware or viruses when using the service. But the popularity of file-sharing in the region illustrates that most think the risk is worth the reward.