As expected, Apple launched its iTunes Music Store in Australia on Tuesday, but Sony BMG continues to play hardball, exercising its major-label status to hamper Apple's catalogue in multiple countries.

The iTunes Music Store is now available in 21 countries. Despite Sony's reluctance to join the party, Apple is offering Australian music fans access to a million-song catalogue, alongside more than 1,000 music videos.

Sadly, New Zealand music fans remain out of the loop - at least for now.

Prices are AUS$1.69 (about £0.72) per song and AUS$3.39 (£1.44) per video. Most albums cost AUS$16.99 (£7.22).

Big in Australia

"We're thrilled to bring the revolutionary iTunes Music Store to Australia," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice-president of iTunes. "It features the largest catalogue of local and international music in Australia with more than one million songs."

Exclusive music for the Australian audience includes tracks from Aussie artists Missy Higgins, Bernard Fanning, Paul Mac, Evermore, Gyroscope and The Dissociatives. Extensive catalogues are available from Australian greats INXS, Hunters & Collectors, Paul Kelly and Slim Dusty.

A selection of iTunes Originals available through the service includes tracks from local heroes Spiderbait, as well as REM, Alanis Morissette, LL Cool J, PJ Harvey and Sting.

Sony BMG/Apple stand-off

Some big-name Australian artists won't be available through the store, including singer-songwriter Delta Goodrem, according to an Associated Press report.

"The Australian market is a very compelling market for us to come to because music has always done very well in Australia," Cue said.

"Warner, EMI and Universal are in the music store, Sony [BMG] is not.

"We know Sony artists would love to be a part of our music store launch and we hope Sony joins soon."

There remains hope that the relationship between Apple and Sony BMG will improve.

Supermarket sweep

Personal usage rights include the ability to play songs on up to five personal computers, burn a single song onto CDs an unlimited number of times, burn the same playlist up to seven times and listen to music on an unlimited number of iPods.

In addition, Apple said iTunes Music Cards will be sold in AUS$20 (£8.50), AUS$50 (£21.25) and AUS$100 (£42.50) denominations at a wide array of supermarkets, including Myer, Megamart, BI-LO, Coles Supermarkets, Pick 'n' Pay Hypermarket, Kmart, Target, Coles Express, Officeworks and Harris Technology.