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Topic: Is it wrong to like foreign stuff?

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Old 12-21-2010, 12:05 PM
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Is it wrong to like foreign stuff?

I'm writing this (more like ranting) due to being so frustrated over iTunes restrictions regarding purchases.

I posted a question in the iTunes forum about where I can get US iTunes gift cards for myself since I live abroad, and the thread was locked due to a potential violation in the terms and conditions. Now, I do NOT (I repeat, NOT) blame the moderator for locking that thread. He/she was simply doing his job in making sure that iLounge does not border on infringing, and that's very much respectable.

But that raises the question. Dear Apple, is it a sin for me to be attracted to material that is only available in the States but not here, and to try to get it via legitimate means? Because at the rate I'm going, I might as well look for ways to get it for free. I want to pay money to companies and/or people whom I think deserve my money and I want to support them. Hell, I already paid for an iPod, what difference would a few more apps make to my credit card bill?

Moderators, feel free to lock this thread if it seems too iffy as well. I've said my piece once, so it's out of my chest.



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Old 12-21-2010, 01:15 PM
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Your point is a very good one. A good amount of my music is only available outside the U.S.. Sometimes that leads to me making very expensive imports for foreign artists I'm absolutely nuts over (I've spent way too much importing nearly the entire discography for the Japanese band Onmyoza). Other times I have to resort to less up and up methods of getting the music. I make no apologies for what I do, there are only so many CDs that are worth upward of $40 for, and as your own frustration springs from, the music business gives fans little alternative.

Unfortunately, just as honeybee felt they were covering iLounge's rear end by closing that thread, Apple is just covering theirs. I detest the way labels behave with their territorial urination matches, but that's the reality of the music business. One legal entity controls distribution of a given artist in one country, but a separate legal entity controls the same artist's distribution in another country. Worse, more often than not, nobody actually controls distribution of the majority of artists in the majority of the world, and so short of importing the CDs and paying the crazy prices many demand, there is no approved way to get most music anywhere. Yet, though nobody is authorized to sell you the music in your country, the labels that do hold any distribution rights to that artist anywhere will drag your butt into court the second you take it upon yourself to openly sell that music. Even though in the age of the internet this makes as much sense as trepanning or exorcism for treating diseases, these legal entities and the self-contradictory laws put Apple in a position of having to enforce their restrictions or lose the distribution rights they do have.

So, no, there is nothing wrong with liking foreign artists, in fact it shows a great openness to finding your own way versus being spoon fed the acts your own local music mafia wants you to buy.

The stupid part is that Apple only makes a token effort to enforce these restrictions. You can easily open accounts in any country you want, ToS or not (ToS are not enforceable except via civil suit so not really sure why iLounge feels the need to give them any weight, as they have none to speak of, but I don't own the site, so I'm not going to fight that one ). It's getting funds to that account that are tricky, and of course that opens up all the middle men, who even in the most legit of operation take a ridiculous cut for the "task" of emailing you an iTunes code.

Maybe this will change one day, and if anyone is in a position to change it, it is Apple. I'd love to be able to buy any music I wanted any time, but until the labels as they exist today go away, it's not happening.
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:32 PM
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I can garuntee both of you have made every point I would make about this situation, because I agree with both of you. I'll buy music if people will sell it to me, but if they don't make the effort to sell it in my country I'll look for it elsewhere (as it were)

I'm on New Zealand, so our selection is even smaller than that of the U.S. store.
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:35 PM
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We even run into these restriction here in Canada, especially with video due to the content distribution and other trade rules set out by the media industry. The TV Show selection in iTunes is not only poor but prices are substantially higher for US content if it's even there. NetFlix now available in Canada is a very watered down version of it's US counterpart. Even though I want to pay for it I find I'm using the torrent site more and more.



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Old 12-22-2010, 04:33 AM
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I remember someone saying somewhere that these kinds of restrictions only hurt the legitimate buyers even more. I'm sure this isn't the original context the quote was referring to, but I feel like it applies to this situation.

It's one thing to not be able to get something because you can't afford it or because it just doesn't fit. It's something completely different to be able to afford it and use it but can't get it because of legalities.

*insert profanity here*!



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Old 12-22-2010, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kylera View Post
It's one thing to not be able to get something because you can't afford it or because it just doesn't fit. It's something completely different to be able to afford it and use it but can't get it because of legalities.

*insert profanity here*!
Ultimately, like most of the rules and insanity of the modern music industry, it comes down to frenetic attempts at maintaining control. For decades, these regional equivalents of musical crime bosses have continued payola and its equivalents to control exposure, access, and sales of music. You aren't supposed to go out and discover an indie artist only distributed in Canada, or a popular pop star in south Asia when your local big labels can't profit from those musical acts.

Most of the current biggest American artists (and I assume this goes for most of the world) are not so "popular" because they're wildly talented, original, and great singers and/or incredible musicians, its because the labels have manipulated their exposure to key demographics via product placement on television, radio, and, yes, even paid Apple for promotion on iTunes. For every Lady GaGa who becomes popular through some actual modicum of talent in creating pop music, there's a Ke$ha or a Katy Perry with an army of executives, producers and writers planning their every move and marketing ploy; they're purely product. And like every other product, the corporations want to manipulate and dominate the market by any means they can get away with. One of the tricks they still have in the pocket is that they only have to cooperate on international distribution of music through legitimate channels in as far as they see it helping them prop up their dying business model.

It's not an accident that as old school CD copying technology became common place among suburban white kids homes in the early 90s that the music industry turned more of their attention to hip hop and country music. It's not an accident that as metal music largely moved to northern Europe and, to a lesser extent, south Asia that support of metal acts from the big labels in the states dried up. To an extent, the strategy works: most people are passive consumers and gravitate toward and buy whatever the corporations want them to, but a larger and larger demographic realize that the majority of music ever recorded anywhere is out there streaming on internet radio, posted via videos on youtube, recommended to them by last.fm and Pandora, and hosted on music sharing sites dedicated to genres or regions of the world.

For now, as fans, get the music however you can. Support the artists when you can to the degree you feel is appropriate. It's one of the reasons I do things like buy import CDs from legit companies. I can't do it for every foreign act or album, but I can send a signal that while I'm not going to pay even $7 for the new Katy Perry album, I will pay nearly six times that amount for a first print of the new Onmyoza album, and the American labels don't make a penny off of that, just the enterprising companies that know there is a market for foreign artists in America. Maybe when these labels wake up to the notion that their "legitimate" music business is a very small fraction of the actual music trade, things will change (but I'm not holding my breath ).
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:37 AM
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I agree. I got a US iTunes card in the States, but I have to use all of my Japanese card first! I only have 80 yen on my card. What should I DO? LAME.
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Got Faded Japan View Post
...but I have to use all of my Japanese card first! I only have 80 yen on my card. What should I DO? LAME.
Not quite. You'll want to create a second U.S. account. You won't be able to use your U.S. gift card with your Japanese addressed account.

You can create as many foreign accounts as you have access to email addresses. Apple does not verify the address unless you've also tied it to a bank account or credit card (nor do they care about the email itself so long as it is unique in their system), so just use something in the right format. Fortunately for gift cards and no-payment option accounts, this is not an issue.
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:43 PM
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I sympathise folks. I'm in England so we get most of the music that I like, even the 'off the wall' stuff (no, NOT Jacko) but it really grinds my gears when I see an app I can't purchase. Sadly it is all about licensing and I suspect the problem isn't usually down to apple.
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