PETALING JAYA: The news of iTunes opening its virtual doors for business in Malaysia came as a surprise to many and even for those in the music industry.
"I heard rumours of iTunes getting ready to roll out in Asia but I did not expect it to happen so soon," said Adrian Lim, Sony Music managing director.
"It is something everyone has been waiting for a long time and I think many will still find it unthinkable that we finally got our own iTunes store."
Fans will greatly benefit from the variety and choice that iTunes provides, and Sony Music is also working on promoting its Hari Raya songs on iTunes, he said.
"We are also thinking of working on special promotions for some of our music collections."
Loan Cheong, general manager of Universal Music Malaysia, is also optimistic about iTunes.
"The content creation industry has received a shot in the arm with iTunes as it will give our local musicians a chance to shine internationally,".
Users of iPhones have been one of the biggest consumers of music globally because of the ease of use of iTunes, he said.
"However, much needs to be done to curb piracy online. Without education and enforcement, even a big player like iTunes would not be able to grow," said Cheong.
Inter Global Music, is a little skeptical of iTunes' success here.
"iTunes has been met with great fanfare as people have been waiting a long time for it but many Malaysians are still not used to the concept of buying digital goods," said Cheah Mun Kit, the company's managing director.
Another possible barrier will be the payment method which requires a credit card, he said, adding that people are just used to getting things for free online.
"If users are able to buy iTunes credit from, say, a convenience store then it would be more widely used. People want convenience even when it comes to payment," he said.
While fans will now be able to get their music online from iTunes, brick-and-mortar music stores are still here to stay according to Sony Music.
"We cannot discount the fact that 50% of our revenue comes from CD sales from physical stores but we are also looking at growing our digital music business too," said Lim.