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British consumer group: iTunes UK overpriced

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 15 Sep 2004 16:10 User comments (8)

British consumer group: iTunes UK overpriced British consumer group Consumers' Association has raised its voice over the iTunes' pricing in the United Kingdom. Most notably, its anger is aimed towards the different pricing model Apple uses for its online music store in European countries. In other European countries where iTunes operates (France, Germany), a downloaded song from iTunes costs 0.99 -- equivalent of appx. 0.67 -- while Brits pay 0.79 per song.
Consumers' Association says that iTunes pricing model could be against European Union rules and asks Apple to stop "ripping off" British consumers. But Apple defended its UK pricing by stating that "underlying economic model in each country has an impact on how we price our track downloads. ... We believe the real comparison to be made is with the price of other track downloads in the UK."

Then again, CD and DVD prices vary wildly between countries -- just like average salaries, rental prices, car prices, etc do.

Source: BBC

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8 user comments

116.9.2004 3:33

Related but Unrelated: I think in general, too much is being charged for individual, major-label songs, whether iTunes or equivalent. Moreover, in my own case, these paid website download services do not have all the "bugs" worked out yet, which has cost me lost/broken/incomplete downloads requiring a re-purchase, as well, I have to suffer a monetary loss on each "prepaid" music card I buy. In Canada, we have a service called "Bonfire", whose songs are called "puretracks". These puretracks, which you may be familiar with as they were recently offered as free givewaways with a MacDonald's Big Mac Combo, seem to originate from a central-distribution base, and are in fact, in protected .wma format. In my case "Bonfire" is simply a 'front-end' leading to the 'puretracks'. I believe there are other services which lead to the same overall pool of puretrack songs. I've purchased about $100.00 Can. so far, but will unlikely be buying anymore. With "Bonfire", you can purchase prepaid music cards in $5, $10, and $20 denominations right at the Future Shop (consumer electronics) store. Many songs cost .99c + taxes, but many cost more. Purchasing an entire album's worth of songs does not necessarily lead to a discount, as is often supposed. (Whether purchased individually or en masse, the songs comprising an album cost the same.) My Main Problem: Often, my downloads are automatically aborted before the song-download is complete. This is highly annoying on a dial-up (modem) system. 'Bonfire' uses it's own download manager. This manager displays all the songs you have purchased in a queue, with a progress indicator for each song. I can't tell you how many times the song in question is reported by the manager to have downloaded _fully_, but is _in fact_ truncated (cut short), requiring a NEW download, manually initiated. You are only allowed to download each song two times. If, on the second attempt, the song is truncated again, you have to pay to download the song again. That's unfair, and wasteful in both time and money, and tells me that their download manager needs re-vamping. You can also do the "Right-click-&-Save-As" thing, but you will still occassionally get incomplete, broken downloads. Another Problem - The PrePaid Cards: Every time a purchase is made, it's value is deducted from the value of the card, (whose serial number you have keyed-in previously.) The trouble is, you will always be left with a small plus balance on the card which you can't use. After using up the bulk value of the card, there will eventually be a small sum left over - an amount which is slightly less than enough to purchase another, single song. (Or else you would have bought the song, right?) I enquired of their customer service link, if there wasn't some way I could 'pool' all of my unused card balances into one, so that I could get all that I paid for, but they said 'No.' (You cannot pool together all of these small sums together to buy a new song, unless you also use an additional credit-card number, (which kind of defeats the whole idea of 'pre-paid' card, right?). If you buy and use a lot of these cards, it becomes a rip-off of sorts - more profit for the service. And so, if you use this service, you will lose a little bit on each card used. That, combined with the rather high incidents of partial downloads you will receive (and possibly have to RE-Purchase), I won't be participating anymore. As I say, these download services seem to be a bit 'buggy'. These protected .wma 'puretracks' sound fairly good in the world of lossy compressed-songs (I didn't really notice any unpleasant artifacts), but burning these tracks with Win Media Player 9 series, to a true red-book CD-R, was a labour of love, fraught with glitches (I *was* eventually successful but not without using a major, undocumented 'workaround'), but that is another story too large to include here. If you don't think (as I do) that these services charge too much for their wares when everything works smoothly, you will by the time you lose enough money in 'unused card balances', and re-purchase enough tunes that didn't come through the first time. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled News Updates........

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 16 Sep 2004 @ 3:42

216.9.2004 8:58

This sounds like a plan to make more money off of consumers by causing the downloads to break thus causing a second attempt (and another charge) and also having partial value left on the pre-paid cards (a scam). Whats their motivation you ask? To get you to buy the CD instead of the MP3(or both!), just read the article on the Japanese market and their concerns on impacting their CD sales. I posted my comments on this topic previously, they want the costs of the indicidual tracks to cost as much if not more than the aggregate cost of those same tracks when purchasing a CD thus keeping the CD sales afloat by making them cheaper in comparison. I still say boytcott RIAA and their members products! THey will get the message sooner or later, if its later it will be when they go out of business.

316.9.2004 17:30

Once again, I must offer my opinion on this topic. Why are people bitching over $0.99 a SONG? It's so CHEAP. If you like this one song so much, but you don't want to buy the album, then pay $1! How is it EVEN EXPENSIVE or "ripping off"?

417.9.2004 1:21

Once again the UK population gets ripped off blind. If you look generally at any of our prices for dvds/electronic equipment/games/music/cars (list goes on) they are far higher priced than most civialised places in the world.

519.9.2004 15:37

Do not buy any form of pre-recorded music until the RIAA stops the BULLSHIT sueing!

619.9.2004 19:39

Hello Toiletman.

Why are people bitching over .99c a Song? It's so CHEAP.
It's an 'ok' price for a compressed song, but I think you miss my point. Do you like being nickle-&-dimed to death? With the above-named Bonfire service, if you purchase a $5 or $10 or $20 prepaid card, you will not be able to download $5 or $10 or $20 worth of music. EACH card carries it own little rip-off factor. I have six "expired" prepaid cards here, all with a small, unuseable balance which will go to our dear friends at the RIAA. And how many times do you want to re-download and re-pay for songs that self-truncated themselves because the music bizz can't find a Bug-Free downloader? *Terrific* fun if you have a dialup modem! Wanna know something? Kazaa (never mind that it's free) is foolproof. Obtaining songs from this P2P is both easier and faster than BONFIRE. And you don't have to leap through the hoops I've had to leap through just to get a Kazaa tune burned in standard music-cd (red book) format, as I do with Puretracks. etc. etc.

720.9.2004 12:23

*grins sheepishly* Yes I missed your point, sorry if I sounded offending =P I thought you were talking about the whole Pay for Music in general, but you were talking about a specific service. Sorry!

Everyone is entitled to their own true opinion. Either respect that or don't.

821.9.2004 5:43

(noo noo noo....) No offense taken, Toiletman. :-) It's just that if these pay-services want to beat Kazaa, they have got to get their act(s) together and make it worthwhile for the consumer. By the way, P2P networks here in Canada are still perfectly LEGAL, right down to your c:\Kazaa\Shared\ folder. The only reason I went to 'Bonfire' in the first place was a) Curiosity (I wanted to hear what their drm-infected .wma files sounded like), and b) I couldn't find all the songs I was looking for on Kazaa. If they had not permitted their tunes to be burned to a STANDARD red-book music CD, I would have ignored them completely.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 21 Sep 2004 @ 5:43

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