Australians are used to the fact that all sorts of companies will make us pay through the nose for goods and services that are much cheaper in other countries around the world. From cars to computers, fashion to refrigerators, we pay more. Companies will tell you it is the cost of doing business in Australia, a combination of economies of scale and the extra cost of delivering down under.
One would assume that with content delivered online, music, movies, books and apps downloaded through iTunes or Apple TV, that these old excuses would no longer apply. Essentially it costs no more to send data from Apple’s servers to Canberra or Cucamunga.
However, across the board, from music to movies, the US iTunes store is cheaper, and perhaps more importantly, has a vastly superior range of movies and music. If you want to watch a classic SF movie like John Boorman’s Zardoz, or a recent bizarre and violent thriller like Spike Lee’s Oldboy, or classic Vincent Price horror films from legendary studios like Hammer or Amicus, they can be found in the US version, but not on the Australian store.
They do this because there were, back in the dark, unnetworked ages, various regional licensing deals made between producers, publishers and distributors of various physical copy materials. Necessary and useful back when books, movies and music had to be transported by sea, air, road or rail. Now completely redundant and counterproductive in a webbed world.
Previously, to counter issues of price and range, many Australians have opened US iTunes accounts, accessing a whole world of previously unavailable music and shows. An Australian iTunes user who wanted to do so would simply create a new Apple ID,using a .com email address, rather than one with an Australian country code, enter their details, enter a US address, perhaps Apple’s old address, 1/20525 Mariani Ave, Cupertino, CA, 95104, Ph. 408 9745050, if you want to be ironical.
Apple will ask for a credit card, and if you don’t happen to have a US credit card, here are the steps to create an Apple ID you can use with US content.
How To Create A Non-Credit Card Apple ID iTunes Account
1. Open iTunes. Make sure you are not signed-with your regular account.
2. Click on ‘iTunes Store’ in the left hand column.
3. Scroll to the bottom and select ‘Change Country’, or click on the button with the image of a flag. This will take you to a selection page within iTunes where you can select ‘USA’.
3. Click on the ‘App Store’ button in the top menu.
4. Find a free app. If you look on the right-hand columns there are sections showing the top paid apps and the top free apps. Click on a free app.
5. It will take you to the app page. When you click on ‘Download’, the iTunes sign-in window will open.
6. Click on the ‘Create Apple ID’ button.
7. It will take you to an ‘Introduction’ screen, then to the Terms & Conditions. Agree to the terms and conditions. Don’t worry, they fall a little short of promising your first born to Apple. Just a little.
8. A page opens with fields so you can create your new Apple ID. Enter your non-country coded email address. Any dot.com address should work. Choose a password. Select security questions and answers, date of birth and an alternative email if you wish. Click continue.
9. Last page. Here you select ‘None’, and enter your name and a suitable US address.
And voila! You should have a US Apple ID. Buy some US iTunes cards on eBay, and you can finally watch some classic Vincent Price movies.
Or that was the case previously. Now Apple appears to be cracking down on Australian users looking for a better range of entertainment. They seem to be detecting your IP location, and if it is outside the US, you will receive a harsh looking warning in red suggesting For assistance contact iTunes Support at www.apple.com/support/itunes/ww/.
You could contact Apple and assert that you are setting up the account because you will soon be in the US. You could install an IP blocker and try again. That may or may not work.
Or after all this effort to try to gain fair access, you could just watch your classic movies on YouTube, and download the latest releases from a pirate site. Because if these industries aren’t going to treat us in a fair and equitable manner, why should we show the same consideration to them?