iTunes Music Store opens in Europe

At last, Apple opens iTunes in the UK, France and Germany. We barely waited ;-).

The whole subway in Paris has been taken over by giant ads for the iPod, I crossed a dozen of them in my journey this morning. No coïncidence, and a nice doublé with la fête de la musique on June 21.

The prices for the songs are a bit odd, France and Germany will enjoy a fairly reasonable conversion rate at 0.99€ a song and 9.99€ an album, when you don't forget that nearly 20% VAT is included. On the contrary, the UK prices are much higher at 0.79£/7.99£. We've seen Apple playing with odd price policies before, but this time I can't prevent myself to think that the UK should better join the Euroland than remain isolated.

I can connect fine to the French iTMS through iTunes, but all Apple websites I've tried to contact at the moment are down, which is a bit weird since they're using a robust combination of delivery networks (Akamai and Speedera for the curious.) I guess it's a bit telling about the rush that is probably going on at the moment on the servers in Cupertino.

I'll give it a try once I get a chance.

On a side note, I think there is currently a rush on www.apple.co.uk from a flash crowd who mismatch this illustration agency with Apple's UK website. And the fact that they're greeted with a Microsoft .NET error message (screenshot) with code showing lots of variables names containing "Artists" in them are likely to endure a severe shock believing that Apple has given up to the dark side ;-).

P.S.: Akamai is at it again, so the unavailability of Apple's sites may not be related to a flash crowd after all.

3 Comments

Hye

Don't know if you're aware of the fact that Itms EU is located in Luxemburg where VAT is 3% not 20

that's why prices are so low .

It does not matter a bit. VAT, in this precise case, is paid in the country of the buyer, not the seller, so if I buy something at iTMS France, I'll leave the 18.5% VAT there. Germany and UK have all different VAT. Furthermore, UK's VAT is cheaper than France's.

Furthermore, I believe the difference in prices come not only from a monetary rate change, but mostly because in Europe, the national music authors/interprets associations have a monopoly on their artists rights, so they can dictate their terms to Apple in each individual countries. The EC has already warned them that their monopoly is going to disappear if they continue on this stand.

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