Apple Inc. launched its iTunes digital multimedia store yesterday in 16 Latin American countries—a move that industry analysts believe will curb music piracy in the region. The primary regional market for the iTunes Store will be Brazil, and Apple will also begin providing the service to 15 Spanish-speaking countries in the hemisphere: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela. iTunes has been in Mexico since 2009.
The entry of iTunes into the Latin American market is notable for a region with widespread piracy. Paulo Rosa, president of the Brazilian Association of Record Producers, said that “the more legal alternatives there are for the consumer, the better it is for the market. Unquestionably, this will help music sales at the expense of piracy.”
According to the 2011 Digital Music Report, published by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, 45 percent of Brazilian Internet users pirate music in a given month. The 2011 International Property Rights Index, commissioned by the Property Rights Alliance, notes that Venezuela ranked the worst among 129 countries in terms of piracy of intellectual property rights.
In a related story, Apple announced earlier this week that unlocked iPhones will be available for purchase in Brazil—directly from Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn—beginning Friday, December 16. Foxconn’s new assembly factory in the state of São Paulo is expected to open by year end.