Apple To Standardise European iTunes Music Prices

It's amazing how steely an EU probe can feel...

When EMI decided to drop DRM in that landmark announcement in April Apple tried to claim credit. Now one EU investigation later it is standardising the price of its iTunes music across Europe… out of the goodness of its heart.

To be fair, that’s a slight generalisation. The big four record labels – which have perhaps the biggest say in sales prices – are famously uncooperative and Apple did make the gesture of dropping the price of its DRM-free tracks back in October. Still by hook or by crook…

Consequently Apple released a short statement today explaining:

“… within six months (Apple) will lower the prices it charges for music on its UK iTunes Store to match the already standardised pricing on iTunes across Europe in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain. Apple currently must pay some record labels more to distribute their music in the UK than it pays them to distribute the same music elsewhere in Europe. Apple will reconsider its continuing relationship in the UK with any record label that does not lower its wholesale prices in the UK to the pan-European level within six months.”

Furthermore Steve Jobs was rolled out to add weight to this thinly veiled threat: “This is an important step towards a pan-European marketplace for music. We hope every major record label will take a pan-European view of pricing”.

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome Apple’s decision here and encourage it to further expand its new-found sense of international financial fair play to its entire line of hardware products too…

Apple Statement

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