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Apple’s iTunes music store opens for business in 56 more countries

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the news that Apple has just rolled out its iTunes music store to 56 more countries is that it’s taken this long to do it.

The announcement comes just days after the Cupertino company released a new version of its popular software, in one fell swoop almost doubling its reach, with store access now available in 119 countries.

Those based in Russia, Turkey, India and Indonesia, for example, will now be able to get their hands on a range of multimedia through the iTunes store, including music, movies and apps. Currently, the other 52 countries will have access to music and apps only, with movies coming later.

Tracks by local artists including Elka in Russia, Sezen Aksu in Turkey, AR Rahman in India, and Zahara in South Africa – as well as music from international artists – are available in the store, Apple said in a statement on its website, adding that in all the iTunes store now holds over 20 million songs.

With around half of Russia’s population of 141 million online, the Internet market there is not only already huge, but also has massive potential for growth. The collective kerching! of the iTunes store’s cash registers is going to suddenly become a lot louder with so many new consumers perusing its virtual shelves.

Though Apple didn’t publish a full list of the new countries where its music store is now up and running, the folks over at MacRumors have come up with a list should you wish to check it out.

Last week the tech giant released version 11 of the iTunes software, almost a month later than expected. DT’s Ian Kar gave it a thorough going over in his review here, describing it as a “fantastic update” with Apple developers having made it faster and sleeker. New features include an updated MiniPlayer, a new way to sift through music with Expanded View and more iCloud functionality.