updated 09:30 am EST, Wed January 9, 2008
UK iTunes price drop
Within the next six months, music prices on the UK iTunes Store will drop to fall in line with other European countries, Apple has announced. The company notes that while iTunes pricing is already standardized between countries such as Germany, Ireland, Spain and Sweden, the UK has for some time paid greater song prices; Apple blames this on unnamed record labels, who it accuses of charging more for distribution in the UK than they do elsewhere. The company says it may "reconsider its continuing relationship in the UK" with labels that do not drop their own fees to the European standard.
Based on current European iTunes prices, tracks on the UK iTunes Store should be cut from 79p to 66p, or $1.30 US. The move is not entirely voluntary however, as it is related to an investigation by the European Commission, which has accused Apple of breaking EU law through a combination of unequal pricing and regional restrictions. The decision to drop prices was made in order to resolve the dispute before any sanctions were levied.
Whether record labels will cooperate with Apple is unknown, but the latter may have help from the European Commission, which has also set its sights on the likes of EMI, Warner, Universal and Sony BMG. Since April of last year, the four labels have also been under scrutiny for their role in unfair online pricing.