iTunes is more expensive than any other shop for downloading music tracks

An investigation by a London-based newspaper, the Evening Standard, demonstrates that iTunes is always more expensive than any other store for music downloads.

The Standard conducted a series of searches for music singles and albums on a test version of the website and in all instances iTunes was undercut by one or more of its competitors.

Consumers who want to download media have numerous alternatives. Unlike iTunes, other online stores don't install a monsterous EXE app that uses-up 4 Gigabytes of RAM, and they don't try to take-over your computer. iTunes really is not good software. I usually just buy from the cheapest seller, which is never iTunes. It's just an MP3 file; I don't need a designer label on it. I sometimes use Tesco Digital -- a new website recently launched by a the UK's leading supermarket company. In contrast, Tesco Digital is a nice website to use. It's built with state-of-the-art technology, running on Microsoft's basic web platform -- simply ASP.NET on IIS.

There has been a long history of concerns over grossly excessive pricing by iTunes. For instance, in the UK in 2004 the Consumers' Association sent a report to the Office of Fair Trading complaining that iTunes is overcharging its customers.

"There appears to be considerable evidence that the iTunes set up is prejudiced against the UK public and distorts the very basis of the single market"

Apple's prices are high across the board, not just for music downloads. Its products are expensive, trendy, designer, brand-name versions of products which are available much more cheaply elsewhere. Apple has achieved commercial success by producing shiny, pretty, products, through innovative design work. Ingenious marketing and PR have popularised some of Apple's brands to cult-status. (I have to keep reminding myself that he iPod is in fact just another MP3 player.) A recent TV ad by Microsoft used Apple's own strategy against them, pointing out that buying a Mac means paying more while getting less. The masses are easily seduced by designer brands, and will happily pay extra for something that makes them feel cool or trendy -- especially if it looks nice and has the right label.

iTunes is the global market-leader for music downloads, with 70% of all online music sales world-wide going through the iTunes store. Apple looks a lot like a monopoly abusing its privileged position, selling at inflated prices to maximise corporate profits at the expense of the customer.

No wonder industry insiders have started describing Apple as "evil".

04 August 2009

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Tim Acheson (26 Jul 10, 09:44)

HMV launched a new music download service today: HMV Digital. They sell the UK's top 40 tracks for just £0.40!

Tim Acheson (23 Feb 11, 09:25)

Zune is now the best platform available for music tracks, music videos and movies!

It's unwise to underestimate Zune. I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

There's a tendency in certain circles to dismiss Zune and even laugh at it, but these people are invariably confusing one experimental devide with a much broader brand -- whether they do so deliberately or through genuine ignorance.

Some tech bloggers, who are apparently Apple fans, tend to ignore Zune, as in this case, but this is perhaps a disservice to the reader.

Zune music downloads have always been higher quality.

Also, from Zune you can get WMA/WMV files, and the Windows Media codec yeilds higher quality at lower bitrates!

When I get a movies, music video or music track from Zune, I can enjoy it on my TV/Xbox, PC, Mac, Win Phone, etc. I can get true 1080p full HD video. I can download or stream instantly. Welcome to the future:

A bit over the top here. People are prepared to pay more for the comfort of knowing that they get a simple experience across devices, and can choose not to buy from Apple (yet they continue to do so)
Also check your links - the 'iTunes is eating 4GB' link is a load of old tosh - the guy clearly ddn't know what was going on with his machine.

@Darren I take your point, but iTunes is still more expensive. There's really no rational reason to pay more. I attribute it partly to Apple's incredible marketing operation.

Apple customers are perhaps a mixture of fashion-victims and people who don't know any better. iPad is an excellent and topical example of this -- it's a basic netbook without a keyboard. You could get a superior Windows 7 netbook or tablet cheaper and you'd be able to do much more with it.

iTunes is reasonably convenient, but the alternatives are reasonably convenient too. Plenty of companies charge inflated prices, like the petrol garage on a main road, and sure enough there are always be people ready to pay the extra, and of course convenience is sometimes a factor. Apple charge more and spend it enough of it on PR and marketing to allow them to continue charging more.

I acknowledge your opinion about the Apple customer I quoted. There is no conclusive evidence to support your assertion. Apple and their fans may find it convenient to portray all dissatisfied Apple customers as imbeciles. However, we can rise above this by accepting that every consumer has the right to express an opinion and by taking people's opinions seriously. Let's try to treat others with respect, even if they don't like your beloved Apple. :)

Tim Acheson (18 Jan 13, 09:50)

Related: Amazon Just Fired A Missile At Apple's iTunes Business

"It will also run smoothly on the iPhone's default browser, Safari.

"Amazon's store will offer 22 million songs. When a purchase is made, it will be transferred to an Amazon Cloud Player account, and accessible via desktop, mobile apps, and Kindle Fire


"By opening an Amazon web music store, the company will avoid paying Apple's hefty 30% chunk of sales."


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