Sunday, February 07, 2010

Mea Culpa

The 'Internet Age' has given us many possibilities that we had never fathom before. From simple communication to buying groceries and having them delivered to your doorstep are just two of many possibilities. Nothing seems impossible now (especially with Google Inc. around).

Apple Inc. is one company who has really benefited from the 'Internet Age'. The iPod was the first big thing for them and later the iPhone. These devices allow music to be played on them, both requiring a piece of software called iTunes. iTunes is a music application which syncs music to your Apple listening device. iTunes also allows you to purchase music, digital music that is, and that is what I really want to talk about.

Buying digital music seems like a great way of purchasing music.
The benefits are immense:

  • Don't need to leave the house
  • You can listen to it straight away
  • It is cheaper
  • It reduces carbon footprint because there is no packaging or shipping involved.
Now, how could you pass that up?

My problem with this is, that the iTunes store, is a store in America. When you spend any money at the store, money goes from NZ to the USA. It does not get pumped into the local market. When your country is a small island nation of 4 million, little things like that could cause business to lose huge market share and eventually close down. Less tax is paid to the government, people lose jobs etc. etc.

This is just one example of money being handed to foreign shores. I have found a UK book site which sells books cheaper (after shipping) than books purchased in NZ retail stores. A clothing website based in the USA sells t-shirts for less than $20nzd (after shipping). Amazon (and now Apple) are the two main places to purchase e-books.

Eventually when everyone has the internet, more people will realise that there are many more options when it comes to shopping. NZ products can't compare to the prices of overseas items because of the inflated prices due to 3rd or even 4th party (middle men). Will our economy crumble in 20 years time because we don't support local businesses?

*Edit* After writing this post, I found out that iTunes redirects you to a NZ version of iTunes store, which converts some albums to NZD (while others aren't available in NZ). However, a $5 album in the states costs you $14 is up with that? Anyway, I don't believe the money goes to the NZ economy. *Edit*

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