International Digital Barriers

Posted on Mar 21, 2008 in Opinions


A relative of mine recently had a birthday and I wanted to send him a digital version of the Neko Case album, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood.

So I fire up iTunes, found the album and chose the “Gift this Album” option.
But when you read through the terms, it turns out you can only redeem gifted albums if you have an account within the country that the gift certificate was purchased. I live in Germany, but most of my relatives live in the UK. Now I can understand this limitation if it’s an item that isn’t available in the country of the recipient, but that doesn’t apply in this case.

In Europe, iTunes is pretty much the only game in town Amazon hasn’t launched their digital music service outside the US yet, so I had to go for a physical CD bought on Amazon.co.uk.

Not a big deal, but I do find it bizarre that something so trivial can be made so complicated. It’s time Apple launched a single pan-european iTunes store.