Apple launches iTunes store in major new markets

Apple’s opened its iTunes store in 56 more countries, nearly doubling the number of territories covered.

The new regions include Russia, India and South Africa. Customers there can nowe choose from over 20 million songs, including those from local artists.

“The iTunes Store features local artists including Elka in Russia, Sezen Aksu in Turkey, AR Rahman in India, and Zahara in South Africa, international artists including The Beatles, Taylor Swift and Coldplay, and world-renowned classical musicians including Lang Lang, Yo Yo Ma and Yuja Wang,” says Apple in a statement.

There’s also a wide range of movies available today in Russia, Turkey, India and Indonesia – some in HD – and Apple plans to extend this to more countries.

Pricing varies enormously across regions, largely bacause of the different deals that Apple’s struck with content providers. In Russia, too, it appears that iTunes won’t be running at full capacity, as Apple hasn’t yet reached agreement with all intellectual property owners.

Indian customers are likely to be particularly pleased with the new iTunes store, with tracks costing just Rs12 on average. Both India and Russia could represent enormous markets for Apple – as long as it can combat still-rampant piracy.

Apple last week released a new version of its iTunes software, with a dramatic new redesign. At the same time, the company revamped the iTunes Store so that it now appears the same across all devices.