iTunes Music Store opens in Europe

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At last, Apple opens iTunes in the UK, France and Germany. We barely waited ;-).

The whole subway in Paris has been taken over by giant ads for the iPod, I crossed a dozen of them in my journey this morning. No coïncidence, and a nice doublé with la fête de la musique on June 21.

The prices for the songs are a bit odd, France and Germany will enjoy a fairly reasonable conversion rate at 0.99€ a song and 9.99€ an album, when you don't forget that nearly 20% VAT is included. On the contrary, the UK prices are much higher at 0.79£/7.99£. We've seen Apple playing with odd price policies before, but this time I can't prevent myself to think that the UK should better join the Euroland than remain isolated.

I can connect fine to the French iTMS through iTunes, but all Apple websites I've tried to contact at the moment are down, which is a bit weird since they're using a robust combination of delivery networks (Akamai and Speedera for the curious.) I guess it's a bit telling about the rush that is probably going on at the moment on the servers in Cupertino.

I'll give it a try once I get a chance.

On a side note, I think there is currently a rush on from a flash crowd who mismatch this illustration agency with Apple's UK website. And the fact that they're greeted with a Microsoft .NET error message (screenshot) with code showing lots of variables names containing "Artists" in them are likely to endure a severe shock believing that Apple has given up to the dark side ;-).

P.S.: Akamai is at it again, so the unavailability of Apple's sites may not be related to a flash crowd after all.