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Why, in the year 2012 is is still so hard to pay money to download music

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I have really had it with the music industry.  In they year 21012 they still have not got their act together and found a way to legally distribute their music to the world for a fair price.  I live in Australia, those of you familiar with geography will know it is pretty much the most isolated continent in the world.  Shipping things to and from Australia is expensive and takes a long time.  When I buy music in Australia, I like to rip the music onto my hard drive so I can play it without needing to use a CD.  Far out right?  Once I have ripped the CD, I no longer have any use for it other than collecting dust.  Second thing about Australia - everything here costs much more than it does anywhere else.  The Ipad costs more, iTunes costs more, they keyboard I am typing this on costs more.  If I want to buy a CD for some reason, that also costs more.  Also, because Australians are cultural philestines, the selection of classical music is pretty awful.  If I want to buy a decent recording of classical music, I am pretty much left to ordering from overseas, which means expensive postage, having to wait, and having to find somewhere to put the useless CD once I have ripped it.

 

Now a while ago I discovered a website that sells music to download in high definition and though "excellent, I can finally download high definition music AND not have to pay postage."  I browsed through some music, selected a few albums I liked, registered my details and went to check out.  The website prompts me that unfortunately the music is not available in Australia, even though I can enter all my detail perfectly well into the registration page.  This made me quite cross as I had already selected the music I wanted and went through all the motions that would lead to a more fortunately located individual receiving high definition music to download in exchange for money.  For a while I gave up on the idea of finding music I would like to buy on the internet.

 

More recently, I came across a recommendation on the internet to have a look at a certain record label exclusively releasing classical music - in fact some of the best redbook classical recordings available anywhere (anywhere but Australia.)  This record label, I was told, accommodated purchase of FLAC download of most of their albums again I got really excited - a seemingly endless supply of excellent recordings of every imaginable piece of classical music I could ever want to buy was seemingly at my fingertips.  While browsing the music, I find a tab to change my country to Australia - excellent, I think, this website is going to work.  I went through but a small fraction of the catalogue of the record label, listened to some samples of several albums and again selected some music to purchase.  I go to checkout, enter my details, and again a prompt comes up telling me that music is not available to download in my country.  Now I am very angry.

 

Australia is not some backwater third world country -we have a captitalist economy, a globalised economy and a generally forthright approach to civil litigation.  Our standard of living is quite high and as a whole we are a very wealthy country.  Apparently though, we are not trustworthy enough to be allowed to legitimately download electronic copies of music from any but the largest and most power hungry music distribution services in the world.  What the the supposed problem with letting Australian's legitimately purchase electronic copies of music?!?!

 

If they can't be bothered to offer download services to Australia, I can't be bothered to order CD's from them and pay postage.

post #2 of 19

Bad story bro :( I'm experiencing the same thing, but not as worse as your situation. Many sellers in Amazon and Ebay won't bother shipping or dealing with customers from my country (Indonesia). Now I'm living in Singapore and I found out that some things are even more expensive here than in the States or Indonesia. For example, I just bought a headphone recently from an American in Amazon. The product itself cost me US$270. They sell the same headphone for US$540 here! Luckily I have a brother who live in the States...

 

I hope things will be better.

 

Just curious, why are digital download isn't available in Australia?


Edited by ivantoar - 3/20/12 at 9:30am
post #3 of 19

I'm not sure what the answer is. Perhaps you could obtain the music some other way, and write a check for whatever is would cost you if they let you buy it...

 

"Here is a check for your album I downloaded. Your service seems to be broken in Australia, but using my superior technical skills, I corrected the problem myself... However, in the future, if you don't want payment, feel free to say so, or continue using your broken service that won't accept payments. I'd be happy to stop bothering you with my money."

post #4 of 19

I recently went through the same frustrations as drez.  I spent a lot of time choosing HD downloads on a particular site and when I went to check out I found the message 'U.S. Only' (I live in Canada).  I sent an e-mail to the site owners asking about this and received a reply saying that they don't have distribution rights for countries outside of the U.S.  Presumably, these rights are negotiated with the record labels involved.

 

post #5 of 19

I live in Australia...went to HD tracks, after noticing they had some stuff that wasn't the usual pretentious audiophile genres. I found stuff I liked, added to cart, did some reading, created an account, more reading. Hidden amongst the FAQ is a statement about not selling to Non-US residents. Less them impressed I grumbled to mates about how big content bitches about piracy while at the same time saying "We don't want your money, please leave."

I tried anyway, oddly enough. They accepted my PayPal, which is clearly linked to accounts in Australia. I got what I wanted, they got money, did their system even notice?

 

Rights management is the biggest problem, too many fingers in the pie and they all want their piece.

 

In Australia, people sometimes throw out the term 'Australia tax' in reference to illogical and possibly greedy price increases for seemingly little valid reason. I wanted to buy a game soundtrack, followed the developers iTunes link (their site said 9.99), opens up iTunes...price bumped to 16.99. I came close to registering a iTunes account and giving them money...I still don't have an iTunes account and still don't have that soundtrack.

The official line as I recall from Apple via statement on Triple Js Hack program (public funded radio) was that any price differences are the result of local rights holders. I'm supposed to believe that my game soundtrack falls under some local rights holder? To that, I say ********.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MutteringInMB View Post

I recently went through the same frustrations as drez.  I spent a lot of time choosing HD downloads on a particular site and when I went to check out I found the message 'U.S. Only' (I live in Canada).  I sent an e-mail to the site owners asking about this and received a reply saying that they don't have distribution rights for countries outside of the U.S.  Presumably, these rights are negotiated with the record labels involved.

 



 

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

It's crazy IMO, that rights agreements are so complicated that they can effectively stall the international sale of digital music downloads, and yet you can buy the CD and just as easily rip etc.

 

This is just insanity and a symptom of the inflexibility of record labels/distributors which is killing the industry and in fact prolonging the problem of piracy.

 

Yet another example is Spotify won't work in Australia either.

 

Australia Tax is pretty spot on - duties and shipping do not add up to the increase in prices we have to pay.  Australian's being seen as rich and indiscriminate spenders probably has more to do with it IMO.

 

I think this is maybe also to do with the big record labels' efforts to coerce local Internet Providers into delivering private data on the activity of their clients to allow for prosectution over piracy.  For reference Aussie IP's haven't complied whereas those in the US and OK I think have complied.

 

This is just completely stupid though, as I have already mentioned digital downloads has nothing to do with any exposure of record companies/distributers to piracy.

 

I also suspect that the rights agreements are so convoluted and complicated that achieving an agreement to sell digital downloads is some kind of herculean effort.

 

I genuinely beleive that if everyone could download an album for $15 or less this would greatly reduce piracy and surely increase record sales, but maybe the risk management consultants at the record companies think otherwise?

post #7 of 19

it because many american companys simply dont want money from not americans. 

 

im in the uk and im sure you have it worse in anzacland but similar things exist here.  for example its cheaper usuaslly for me to order a cd from the US than it is to buy in the UK. 

 

im not advocating piracy but there is a reason piracy rates where you are are massive, what choice  have they given you.

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

IMO it's simple problem economics for the most part, along with practicality and general cultural sentiment.

 

Services like Spotify are a great idea to try to kerb casual piracy - but again because of licencing this service is not available in many countries.

 

Australia is a rich country - but I would hate to think how poorer countries can afford music.  In many of these countries pirated material is sold openly, and to be honest if you look at how much people earn in those countries you understand why.  Even in some European countries people earn maybe 1/3 what we earn in England, US , Australia and they have to pay the same amount of money for music as we do.  Record companies are simply pricing themselves out of certain markets, and doing nothing to support measures to improve legal and affordable distribution of their products, Instead trying to prosecute their way toward stopping piracy without considering why there is a problem in the first place.  IMO the problem starts as an economic consequence of pricing, and then becomes a culturally acceptable activity.  Prosecution will only work in rich countries, and still will do little to address the underlying problems.  Most of the illlegal downloads a hosted from countries where uploaders feel safe from prosecution anyway.


Edited by drez - 3/21/12 at 8:18pm
post #9 of 19

The issue of licensing shouldn't be as big as it is, many of the of the companies involved in Australia for example are either in tight partnership with US based companies (particularly relevant for US media) or are subsidiaries.

In regards to 'rich countries'. I think they charge as much as they think the local market will bear rightly or wrongly. It's regional pricing.

 

That's why some countries can pay more for the same thing, especially in particularly galling examples of digital distribution, which can be just plain insulting.
It's sad when you can ship a CD, game or whatever half way around the world for less than what can be charged for a download.

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2410 View Post

 

im not advocating piracy but there is a reason piracy rates where you are are massive, what choice  have they given you.



This.

 

OP, I find you story quite ridiculous. I knew that it's expensive to ship items to your country, but I wouldn't expect that kind of trouble with digital media. It makes no sense to bump a price up that much for something that isn't even tangible.

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

I think iTunes is good (ALAC is a pretty good codec) but personally I find it a pain to use on Windows.  For popular genres I usually listen about twice then never again, to me this is worth maybe $15 as this is the same as a movie ticket which also provides 2 hours of entertainment.  So if I can find something on iTunes for about $15 or less then IMO all's well.  Personally I would rather not use iTunes but it looks like they put the legwork into sorting out licencing agreements while record labels sit around complaining about piracy so maybe they deserve a cut of the profits?

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by drez View Post

I think iTunes is good (ALAC is a pretty good codec)

Just to make it clear, what you buy from iTunes is not ALAC files (lossless) but AAC (lossy).
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skamp View Post

Just to make it clear, what you buy from iTunes is not ALAC files (lossless) but AAC (lossy).


Ahh u serious, how annoying!

post #14 of 19

Drez

I feel for you mate.  Us Kiwis are in the same boat.  As others stated above - HD Tracks (using Paypal) works OK.  Some of their classical is pretty good too.  They're expanding their repertoire all the time as well.

 

I'm guessing the original web-based digital site you were talking about is Deutsche Grammophon.  That really peeved me also.  They had a couple of Helene Grimaud's albums that I was looking for.  Not sure if it helps - but check this guy out from the classifieds.  He's in Oz.  Might be something there you like.

(http://www.head-fi.org/t/564200/sale-deutsche-grammophon-decca-philips-emi-virgin-classics-rca-naive-classical-music-cds-sacds-dvds-all-perfect-condition)

 

If you find any other decent sites open to Anzacs - be sure to post them.

post #15 of 19

I was chatting to a Bike Shop Manager a couple of weeks ago and we were talking about the outrageous mark up on bike parts...he basicly said that he could not compete with internet sellers on price because the price the importers give him wholesale is still higher than the price+shipping for an internet purchase.  He went on to explain the reason....aparently it is a requirement (Law) in Australia for the importer not the manufacturer to cover the warantee on a product.

 

  So the importer usually adds a percentage to his/her purchase price and then there is freight plus the percentage markup for the bike shop. Where an international seller really does not have to worry too much about warantee because there is no way for the Australian government to inforce any local laws in China or wherever you got the product from...so it is usually heaps cheaper than your local shops price.

 

Now where this comes in with Itunes, Steam, and other (not all) online download sites charching higher prices in Australia compares to Itunes/Steam in the states.....I think it has to do with some crappy legislation to protect bricks and mortar shops.

 

Funny thing is I can buy 2 cameras from a shop in the states pay freight and taxes and still save over $50 compared to buying 1 of the same camera in the shop down the road.

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