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Bloghuh? 3

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Todayís raison du flummox is a 2-parter concerning a) pricing disparity and b) catalogue availability at your friendly neighborhood iTunes store.

Iím sure there are complicated reasons behind all this, including legal mumbo jumbo about licensing and entertainment contracts as well as complex currency exchange formulas, but to my oh-so-simple mind these things just seem absurd.

Why is it that the exact same song costs £0.79 in the UK and $0.99 in the US? If we do a little simple math, using xe.comís current exchange rate of 1 GBP = 1.93740 USD, that makes the UK single worth $1.53, a little over 50% more expensive. Conversely, if a Brit were to buy a song from the US iTunes store (if they could, more on that in a bit), theyíd only be paying 51p vs. the 79p that itís listed for here.

I realize that international markets canít be priced solely around exchange rates. But really Ö when was the last time the pound was worth 1.5 dollars*? It just doesnít seem right. The freshly dropped Apple TV (£199UK ($386) vs. $299US) is another example. And, if I may quickly digress, cinema pricing is ridiculous. If I went to see ďPerfumeĒ today in Times Square, itíd cost $11.00 (£5.68). That same film in Leicester Square is £11.75 ($22.74). Btw, if you were to meet me in St. Louis, it'd cost us $8 (£4.13).

Maybe pricing has to do with economies of scale? In terms of projected sales, they are bound to turn over more units (or get more box office proceeds) in the US due to a larger population of consumers. Or maybe the MacCountants know that Apple TV is less relevant in the UK because (and this leads us to my second point), thereís hardly any legal video to watch on your computer (or video iPod), let alone stream to your telly.

Why arenít videos, films, and tv shows available on UK iTunes? Seems to me people (companies, artists, agents, etc.) are losing good revenue by not letting the UK in on the entertainment bounty.
If someone in the US wants to go to a whole new world and listen to Katie and Peter croak croon Endless Love (and Iím certain such masochists exist) or Leona stealing singing Kelly Clarksonís ďA Moment Like This"), why stop them? If I want to buy the newly remastered Dreamgirls OCR (ooh, and I am telling you I do), or Spring Awakening, then I should be able to do that.

Oh sure, I could go to Amazon. Amazon doesnít care if Iím buying from the UK or the US. Or I could scour the web for torrents and illegal downloads. Or someone in the States could call a UK friend and have them buy and ship the UK-only contraband like Girls Aloud. (heh heh, Girls Aloud = contra band).

So, in a nutshell, why donít the folks at Apple create a more universal pricing structure and make a little extra money by opening up their stores to a global market?

All that said, I love living in London, and will (almost) gladly pay the extra price to enjoy my time here, even if it doesnít make cents.

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Read more about things that mystify other participating Bloghuh? bloggers this week:

Blue Witch
bob's yer uncle
Changing Places
In the Aquarium
Kitchen Witch
La Que Sabe
London Daily Photo
Purple Pen
Quixotic Evil
Santiago Dreaming
Who Knows Where Thoughts Come From?

* I just looked it up and it seems that it's only been about 5 years. Wow.