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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Apple Service Sells Songs Online for Just 99? a Pop

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple Computer Inc. earlier this week unveiled a service that lets music fans download songs for 99 cents each, a package that Apple called simple and cheap enough to compete with the free song-swap sites the record industry blames for its slump.

Apple said its long-awaited iTunes Music software was immediately available for its own Macintosh computers, while a Windows version would be available by the end of the year.

The computer maker said its online music service would feature more than 200,000 songs from the top five music companies -- fewer songs than some other paid services offer, but Apple said the list will grow.

Users would be allowed to burn songs on an unlimited number of CDs for personal use and download them on up to three computers -- without violating copyrights or denying royalty payments to musicians.

"Consumers don't want to be treated like criminals and artists don't want their valuable work stolen,'' Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said in a statement.

Jobs concluded the launch by playing a video in which U2 lead singer Bono, jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette praised Apple's new service.

At the same time, Apple rolled out new versions of its popular iPod handheld digital music players with expanded capacity, saying Mac users would be able to buy music over the Internet and transfer it readily to their iPods.

The record industry has embraced Apple's efforts as a bulwark against online piracy even though established competitors dismissed its claims that it had vaulted to the front in the still-developing online music market.

Cupertino, California-based Apple has built its strategy around the idea that its Macintosh computers, which represent about 3 percent of the personal computer market, could serve as the "digital hub'' of a still-emerging digital lifestyle.

Jobs said the pay-as-you-download Apple service, which allows users to hear free, 30-second clips of songs, was superior to other fee-based online music services.

"People are used to owning their music,'' not renting it, Jobs said. "We think subscriptions are the wrong path.''