Sweden gets i-Tunes at last

Scandinavians can at last start legally downloading music from the world’s largest mp3 site. iTunes is selling a song for 9 SEK online in Sweden, starting today.

Sweden, Denmark Norway and Switzerland are among the last European countries to get the service. Apple won’t say why, but Computer Sweden speculates that it’s either been a problem with rights management or because each country still runs its own currency.

“We do not comment on why one country gets iTunes before another country. The important thing is that it is here now,” says Fredrik Hallstan, head of PR and Communications for Apple in the Nordic countries.

Dagens Industri points out that the timing is right, however, considering recent headlines of file-sharers being arrested and the Anti-piracy Bureau’s high profile spat with Bahnhof.

Apple says 400 million songs have been purchased and downloaded from the iTunes music stores around the world. Digital music, including iTunes and iPod sales, accounts for 38 percent of Apple’s income.

“The combination of iTunes and iPod is unbeatable,” says Hallstan.

The price of a song in Sweden is slightly higher than in the US. American iTunes charges the equivalent of about 7 SEK per song. Sweden’s five major labels (BMG, EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal and Warner Brothers) and one thousand independent labels will offer their music on iTunes.

The Swedish pop group Kent has announced plans to release an album online via iTunes after August.

Sources: ComputerSweden, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Industri