Gethin Chamberlain for The Sunday People, 9 December 2012
Millions of British music lovers are being charged up to SIX TIMES as much for iTunes singles as those in other countries.
The price difference was exposed after Apple launched new online iTunes stores in 53 countries.
The Sunday People found Apple and the major record companies are setting prices according to what they think the market will stand.
And they clearly think UK customers are prepared to dig a lot deeper for their music than those overseas.
Rihanna’s Diamonds was 99p in the UK iTunes store this week, but in India the single was just 15 rupees (17p).
In Russia it cost 15 roubles (30p), and in Turkey it was 0.89 Turkish lira (31p). Prices varied widely even among EU countries. Customers in Bulgaria, Poland and Romania were charged 0.99 euros (80p) for a track that cost 99p in the UK and 1.29 euros (£1.05) in France, Spain and Germany. Prices were higher still in Japan and Norway.
One industry figure close to Apple said prices were set low in some emerging markets to compete with rampant piracy there – which could mean Britons are being penalised for abiding by the law.
Industry insiders said record companies had cut what they charged Apple in the hope of cracking new markets. Apple takes a percentage of the sale price, believed to be around 30 per cent. The recording artist often gets as little as 5p per track sold.
Apple refused to comment this week but insiders blamed price differences on currency fluctuations against the dollar.
The revelations threaten to pitch Apple back into conflict with European regulators, who four years ago forced the company to stop charging UK customers more than those in the rest of Europe.