Apple has reached a deal with BMG Japan under which the latter company's catalogue of leading Japanese and international artists will be made available through iTunes Japan.

The addition of the BMG Japan catalogue means top J-POP and international artists are now available through the iTunes Store, including Alicia Keys, Avril Lavigne, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Foo Fighters, Justin Timberlake, Kasabian, Outkast, Pink, Seamo, Suga Shikao, Sukima Switch, Usher and more. 

The move follows several months of tension between Apple and some Japanese labels, and marks a sea change in the atmosphere in Japan's digital music market, some industry watchers say.

"BMG Japan is delighted to join forces with Apple to make the wealth of our catalogue available through the iTunes Store in Japan," said Mr. Daniel DiCicco, executive vice president and general manager of BMG Japan. "We look forward to continuing to drive BMG Japan's digital development through this very important relationship by connecting the iTunes community to top J-Pop and international artists from BMG Japan."

Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes, said: "We're thrilled to bring BMG's impressive catalogue to iTunes so fans in Japan can download and enjoy even more great music." 

iTunes Store Japan now offers over two million songs, 3,500 music videos, Disney and Pixar short films, 65,000 podcasts and 16,000 audiobooks.