Apple iTunes Price Gouging in Australia?

With more than a few under-my-breath chuckles, I read with interest the following article posted in/on the Fairfax newspapers/sites this morning by noted Australian financial commentator, Michael Pascoe:

An interesting read, and on the surface, he makes some excellent points. The difference in pricing between the Australian and US iTunes stores is certainly an eyebrow raiser – but I do note that he makes no attempt to seek any explanation for the difference. Are the costs Apple is required to collect for the Australian publishers of the music – as opposed the the US publishers, which may be a completely different publisher – higher? Quite possibly.

Delving a little deeper, the true folly of the article is exposed – and most significantly, Pascoe misses the point on what exactly iTunes provides BEYOND the music itself. He highlights that the album “Art of Lounge” by Janet Seidel – (who?) – retails on the US iTunes store for $US7.99, and the Australian store for $AUD13.99. He even states that you can go to her concert and get a copy with your name on it for $AUD20.00.

How much does it cost to go to the concert? If it is more than $AUD14.99, his point falls flat. Lets have a look at how much this album costs in Australian stores:

Yes, that’s right – $AUD34.99 – if you can be bothered getting off the “lounge” and getting in your car and driving down to your local Sanity store – costing you time AND even more money. If you choose to buy it from Sanity online, you’ll get it in “10-20 days”. I’m sure going to her concert is a fabulous experience, and is quite possibly worth the extra cost – but iTunes doesn’t have “concerts”. This is a completely different product. Apples and oranges.

Suddenly, iTunes shows it’s real value. Less than half the retail cost, and you can have it straight away – or at least as soon as your internet connection can get it to you. You haven’t wasted time, money, petrol, and effort going to pay the full price, and you don’t have to wait up to three weeks if you buy it online. Sounds like good value to me.

Pascoe’s article suddenly sounds more like an advert for Janet Seidel than anything else.