Why the UK iTunes Music Store rip-off?

A recent email reply to a friend by me on the subject of the new iMacs and iPods with video capability, with a couple of little corrections…

On Wed, October 12, 2005 22:48, Gordon Robertson wrote:
> 1. Can you load that Front Row thing on your ( living room ) iMac?

Couldn’t find the software for download last night, so I assume it’s a bundle-only thing at the moment. Maybe it comes with the remote, which you can buy individually?

> 2. When are you buying another new iPod?

Next year, when the 80Gb version comes out!

> Gotta hand it to them. They haven’t lost it. And how the hell do they manage
> to keep it under wraps so well?

It’s been a rumour for ages, and some noticed the new video icon used in the playlist panel in v5.0 and sudden lack of new music videos being posted to iTunes store, so rumours really started flying then.

The price is a little high for those videos though, in the UK anyway. In the US it’s $1.99, which ain’t bad, just twice the price of a song. But in the UK it’s £1.89, which is:

a) 2.4 times the normal UK price for a song (£0.79).

b) equivallent to $3.30 (yes, that’s 3.3 times the price of a US music purchase, not twice). Even factoring in VAT, $1.99 * 1.175 = $2.34 = £1.34 <> £1.89.

In the same vein, music should really only be £0.66 ($0.99 * 1.175 = $1.16 = £0.66).

All calcs based on today’s exchange rates of 1 USD = 0.571951 GBP or 1 GBP = 1.74840 USD.

This pisses me off, why do us UK peeps have to pay extra over and above our sales tax, it’s not like data bits have a hard time travelling over the Atlantic or anything.

It’s just not on! And that’s why I’ll not be buying any music videos or TV episodes from the UK iTunes music store, not until the price comes down to below £1.50 anyway (£1.39 would be great, but I’d live with £1.49).

I’ve bought a lot of music from iTunes, even at that rip-off £0.79 price, simply because it’s cheaper than buying a CD, which typically cost £11.99+ new. So I figure I can live without the case etc and save a couple of quid by buying the music from iTunes (albums are usually £7.99) and backing up to a cheap CD-R. I only listen to music via my iPod or computer these days anyway, so it makes sense.

But that price for videos is just too much, it’s way out of step with the USA, and I just don’t need them that much that I’ll pay that kind of money.

Maybe when we get a proper Apple “iMedia” in the shape of an Intel based Mac mini with TV tuner (although I’ve got an Elgato Eye TV which would do), Front Row software and remote for tucking under the living room TV, I might find the downloadable videos a little more interesting.

It’s early days I suppose.

No comments.

  1. The price of videos and TV programmes downloads is a rip-off. Videos are promotional tools to sell records, and the TV companies have their programmes anyway – it’s all extra revenue for them.

    Can I give a plug for my iPod UK site (www.ipod.org.uk) which gives FREE music downloads from unsigned UK bands. iTunes is a rip-off.

  2. Seeing as you asked nicely, sure, you can have your plug! :-)

    Just had a very quick look at http://www.ipod.org.uk, lots of nice Apple/iTunes/iPod related info. I’ll be checking out the free music when I get a chance, it all looks worth a download.

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  4. Thanks for looking at my site Ian.

  5. To be honest, I’d HATE to buy anything with DRM. Just out of principle.

  6. I’ve got no problem with DRM, as long as it’s “fair”.

    Fair means different things to different people though, and the fact that you can’t burn iTunes Store videos to DVD is against my feelings of fair use. I’d want to be able to put stuff like tv shows I’ve bought on a DVD so that I can watch them on my TV. Mind you, the resolution of the currently available files is too low for me to want to do that anyway.

    Hence I won’t be buying videos/tv files from the iTunes store until the following three things are addressed:

    1) UK prices dropped to be more in line with US pricing.

    2) Resolution improved to at least PAL standard, would prefer HD (maybe a resolution/file size choice on the store would be good).

    3) Able to burn these wopping great big files to DVD for backup and viewing.

    Not asking much, am I?

  7. No you’re NOT asking for much. You can’t burn a DVD of any videos you buy … so why not just go out and buy the DVD?

    On a second point, I honestly think DRM is just a terrible thing. Make online file-swapping illegal, absolutely. But when a person buys a song or video their personal use should not be restricted. That insults the customer, and it frustrates the customer – the customer should be king. I think in 10-20 years all DRM will be gone, and the record companies and movie studios will still be making loads of money.