Exchange rates muddy music download prices

— 3:36 AM on January 19, 2004

One of the reasons that online music services have become popular is the fact that consumers don't have to purchase an entire CD to get their hands on a one-hit wonder's three and a half minutes of fame. However, the price a music shopper will pay for the latest Outkast, Britney, or White Stripes single very much depends on where that shopper lives. In the US, the major players seem to have settled on a $0.99 price for single-track downloads, though Wal Mart is undercutting everyone and selling songs for only $0.88.

Outside the US, the 0.99 price point has been embraced by music services offered in Canada and the UK. However, due to the wonders of exchange rates, the actual cost of music downloads varies quite a bit from country to country. In Canada, Puretracks is selling songs for $0.99CDN, which works out to about $0.76US. In the UK, mycokemusic will apparently carry songs for £0.99, which works out to a whopping $1.80US.

As new players emerge, the price of downloads may stabilize, but until then there's probably a buck or two to be made muleing music downloads across international borders.

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