Strong dollar can't drop song price

The price of music bought vi iTunes has not decreased despite the strengthening Australian dollar.
The price of music bought vi iTunes has not decreased despite the strengthening Australian dollar.

YOU may have noticed online goods getting cheaper as the Aussie dollar hovers around the same price as the American greenback.

One place that hasn't been affected by those changes though is iTunes.

Gotye's Making Mirrors album is currently retailing here for AU$16.99, and in the USA for US$9.99 - and that's only one of thousands of examples.

Yesterday a spokesperson for the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy confirmed that the Minister has requested an inquiry into the pricing structures of technology companies who sell digital content.

The inquiry will ask Apple why prices on Australia's iTunes are higher than those overseas, and technology companies in general will be asked why music and book downloads are so much more expensive than overseas.

Good old fashioned people power prompted Sydney-based Member for Chifley, Ed Husic, to champion the issue in Parliament, after constituents in his electorate complained about the price of software and gaming downloads.

"I think Australian consumers, especially younger consumers, and businesses are shouldering an unfair pricing burden," Mr Husic said in a Parliamentary speech in September.

"And the tech company justification for this practice has either been non-existent or flaky."

Earlier this year Triple J's Hack program reported that Australians were avoiding the price differences by opening American iTunes accounts.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer David Bradbury told the program that putting pressure on iTunes by buying from alternative sources, like BigPond, would likely have a more significant effect on pricing changes than buying off the American site.

Apple themselves haven't commented on the issue.

Bound to contain some interesting argument, the inquiry is due to begin later this year.

Topics:  itunes

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