Sunday 6 October 2013

I'm using an iTunes Store SA account. Should I terminate my account with the iTunes Store US ?

Written for SA iTunes users with US iTunes Store accounts.

With the release of iTunes version 11, the iTunes Store was officially launched to South Africans in December, 2012. The entertaining shopping experience it provides is impressive. This begs the question for locals with iTunes US accounts, should we close the latter?

In making this decision, I suggest you weigh up the benefits of having two accounts against the inconvenience (and added risks) of managing accounts for multiple territories:

Under benefits, account holders of more than one iTunes Store can benefit from being able to select the best one for; i. speediest access and easiest browsing; ii. a wider product range or one better suiting their tastes, iii. lower prices and iv. quicker delivery. In my case, as a local iTunes Store and iTunes US customer (who predominately shops for music), my experience of these benefits has been:

i. Ease of access and browsing.
Accessing the SA store via iTunes is speedy and I seem to have less difficult being interrupted for  repeat logins which the US service requires when I'm purchasing music on my laptop or via other devices. Overall, the local service is better.

ii. Product range.
An important reason for accessing the latter is to get the latest US entertainment content, which are unlikely to be available in the local store at the time it is released in the States. As for TV shows, these are currently not offered in South Africa; nor are free games or iTunes radio.

iii. Pricing
A disadvantage of using the US store is the premium that South Africans pay organizing vouchers in terms of purchasing dollars and the associated exchange rate and service provider fees. While purchasing songs en-mass may still be cheaper via the US store (at $ 0.69 to $1.29, compared to R 6.99 to R 8.99), album prices for purchases are often cheaper on the SA store (or local music specialists).

iv. Purchase and delivery process
The local payment system is credit card-based and far more efficient that redeeming vouchers on the iTunes US Store. A further challenge is that songs downloaded with a US account may have a 90-day waiting period before they can be played from your computer, if it is associated with a South African account.

Having used the SA store since its opening, I now rarely log-in to use my US account. However, I will keep the latter until the range of formats and content offered locally approximates that of the iTunes Store US. I believe the advantages of this approach outweighs the minor inconvenience and small risks associated with holding two accounts.

Let us know your approach by adding a comment, thanks?

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