Over the weekend I curiously started investigating whether Australians had been getting a progressively worse deal for their iTunes purchases as the Australian dollar rose from USD$0.60 to parity whilst iTunes prices stayed constant. The answer is most definitely a yes but it doesn’t just apply to Australians, and the extent of the price disparity is larger than I had thought.
Whilst Apple is entitled to have different prices for different regions, it doesn’t really need to. Furthermore the extent to which there is price disparity is very extensive for the music section of the store and this article aims to bring the inequity to light. Apple has previously been under similar pressure but the exchange rates reverted back, I would hope Apple again reconsiders their iTunes pricing system now when exchange rates have pushed the disparity to a very high level.
This turned into a bigger article than I had expected so here are the key things I cover and keep reading after the break for a full run down with tables, graphs and more.
- iTunes uses fixed prices (i.e. $0.99, $1.29 etc.) and for stores outside the US these price levels were converted using a very conservative prediction of the future value of a particular currency
- The price levels in non-US stores seem not to have been updated in a long time, yet the value of the non-US currencies have mostly appreciated since then. As a result people purchasing from most of the non-US iTunes Stores are now paying more than US customers and Apple is earning more from those customers
- The conversion rate is different for the App Store and Music store (and likely the other stores too), the App store conversion rates are much more appropriate and the price disparity is less extreme.
Updated on April 27 2011 – see end of article for revised figures and comment.