Five years prior to the introduction of the iPod and iTunes in the US, IBM in conjunction with the then 5 major music labels had a full end-to-end ecosystem for the secure preparation, delivery, and sale of digital music that was live and in production in Japan. That system was based on the IBM Electronic Media Management System (EMMS).
Great interview with previous Sony CEO ,"Sony CEO on the Wii, iPhone, and How Sony Almost Beat the iPod".
This is the 02/1999 original press release for EMMS:
Additional EMMS press releases and news articles (NOTE: List is not exhaustive nor in chronological order)
IBM and Sony Show First Results of Collaboration with Electronic Music Distribution (4/15/1999)
IBM and Sony to Collaborate on Copyright Management Technologies for Digital Music Content (4/15/1999)
New York Times THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Sony and I.B.M. Create Alliance On Delivering Music Over Net (4/16/1999)
BMG Entertainment Plans Adoption of IBM Technology For Commercial Roll-Out of Electronic Music Distribution to Consumers (4/6/2000)
IBM Digital Management Software Chosen by Toshiba for New Music Portal in Japan (2/20/2001)
IBM Showcases Electronic Music Distribution on GRAMMY.com (2/20/2001)
RealNetworks backs IBM digital music system (4/12/1999)
MusicMatch and IBM Provide Complete Path for Digital Music Distribution (11/14/2000)
Oasis Teams With Spero Communications Using IBM's Digital Media Technology For New Album Launch (6/2/2002)
IBM, Philips and Telematica Institute join forces on Secure Electronic Content Delivery research (10/10/2002)
IBM Named Digital Content Management Company of the Year by Frost & Sullivan (1/17/2003)
A good EMMS V2-1 Solution Overview Brochure.
An interesting promotion done with London Sunday Times "UK rocks BigTime with digital media superdistribution from IBM"
A great video (in Japanese) of a branded EMMS system that was live and in production in Japan prior to the introduction of the iPad and iTunes.