Apple to lower iTunes pricing in UK, standardize pricing throughout Europe

Apple today announced that it will drop prices on the UK iTunes Store within six months to match the already standard pricing across Europe. Apple currently charges 99 euro cents per song in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and Spain, compared to 79 pence in the UK — a difference of around $0.10.

In a statement, Apple explained that it currently pays some record labels more to distribute their music in the UK than it pays them to distribute the same music elsewhere in Europe. The company also said it will “reconsider its continuing relationship in the UK with any record label that does not lower its wholesale prices in the UK to the pan-European level within six months.” “This is an important step towards a pan-European marketplace for music,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO.

“We hope every major record label will take a pan-European view of pricing.”

Following the announcement, the European Commission issued a statement welcoming Apple’s move to level prices across the board in Europe. Competition commissioner Neelie Kroes said, “The Commission is very much in favor of solutions which allow consumers to benefit from a truly single market for music downloads.” The commission also said it found no agreement between Apple and the major labels regarding how the iTunes Store is organized in Europe, and suggested that Apple’s per-territory pricing structure was an attempt to account for country-specific copyright laws.