Apple Computer now has a 60% volume share of Japan's portable digital music-player market, according to data from industry publication WebBCN Ranking.

Apple Computer now has a 60% volume share of Japan's portable digital music-player market, according to data from industry publication WebBCN Ranking.

The computer giant also claims its iTunes Music Store Japan is now the country's No. 1 legal music download service, although independent verification of that claim was unavailable at press time.

WebBCN collects point-of-sales data daily from 18 retail chains, which collectively account for 40% of consumer electronics sales in Japan. It does not release actual sales data.

Greg Joswiak, iPod products worldwide product marketing VP, says the introduction of the iPod Nano on Sept. 8 helped boost Apple's share of Japan's portable digital player market.

A WebBCN Ranking spokesperson confirms that Apple's share of Japan's portable digital music-player (hard disk and flash memory models only) market has been rising steadily in recent months.

Despite claiming roughly 40% of the digital download market, iTunes' Japanese service has yet to sign content deals with major labels Sony Music Entertainment (Japan), Warner Music Japan, Victor Entertainment and BMG Japan.

"Dozens of labels have been added to the iTunes Music Store Japan catalog" since the online store launched in August, says Alex Luke, Apple's director of music programming and label relations. "We continue to talk to all those labels," says Luke.