iTunes to make Russian debut at Apple event tomorrow?
3rd Dec 2012 | 21:11
In tired joke, songs download you
Apple's iTunes music store could make its debut in Russia's corner of the former Soviet Union at an exclusive event on Tuesday in the heart of Moscow.
TechCrunch said it received a copy of an invitation to the event sent out by a Russian PR representative for Apple.
Apple could debut the long-awaited Russian iTunes store at the event, which will take place Tuesday night at the GUM shopping center in Moscow's Red Square.
9to5Mac reported on Monday afternoon that songs had begun to appear in the iTunes app stores in Russia, Turkey and Lebanon, indicating that the full blown launch of iTunes music in those countries is likely imminent.
In addition, the apparent timing here lines up perfectly with Monday's news that the iPhone 5 will debut in Turkey as well as Russia on Dec. 14, as 9to5Mac pointed out.
Russians eager to get online
TechRadar has reached out to Apple to learn more about the launch of iTunes in Russia, but in the meantime let's have a brief history lesson.
Russia has a checkered past when it comes to the internet and connected technologies, but in recent years its citizens have proved eager to join the online revolution.
In 2008 Russians were the fastest-growing group of internet users in Europe, and recent figures from global investment group GP Bullhound reportedly indicate that Russian internet use has continued to increase since then.
But Wikipedia went dark for a day in Russia over the summer to protest internet censorship.
Specifically, Russian President Vladimir Putin was considering creating an online blacklist that would block Russians' access to sites the government deemed "extremist" or "inappropriate."
Oddly, Russian officials even allowed a domestic ad firm to trademark emoticons in 2009, demonstrating to some a fundamental lack of understanding of how the internet works.
According to TechCrunch, Russia is notorious for music piracy, though legitimate channels for digital downloads do exist there.
Regardless, an official iTunes storefront could help Apple penetrate the smartphone market in Russia, where Android is currently the top choice by a significant margin.
Apple's iTunes was originally scheduled to launch in Russia in October, but that date was reportedly pushed back to November, and then again to "someday, maybe."
So Tuesday's event could be another tease, or it could mark the official launch of the Russian iTunes store. Either way, we'll know in a day.