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Canadians get iTunes on the cheap

Although they had to wait a bit longer, Canadians are getting songs from the virtual music store at a comparative bargain.

Although Canadians had to wait awhile to get access to the iTunes Music Store, they are getting a comparative bargain.

Apple Computer, which opened the virtual doors on the Canadian store late Wednesday, is selling songs for 99 Canadian cents, which translates to about 83 U.S. cents, 16 percent less than those in the United States pay for their iTunes.

It's an even bigger bargain when compared with Apple's European store, where most tracks cost 99 euro cents, which these days translates to $1.31 U.S. and a whopping $1.56 Canadian. Those in Britain pay even more, 79 pence ($1.52, or $1.81 Canadian).

"It's all relatively close," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of applications. Cue added that the pricing environments are different in various countries, as are the taxes and the amount Apple must pay for the music. "The costs do vary by region for Apple."

Americans looking for a bargain will have to do more than just profess their love of hockey or their distaste for President Bush. Because the Canadian store requires a local billing address, Americans will have to get a home in Saskatoon or Thunder Bay to get in on the lower pricing.

Although Apple's pricing varies from country to country, the company has tried hard to stick to offering all songs in the store at the same price.

That posed a bit of a challenge recently in Britain as Band Aid released a charity single that was selling for 1.49 pounds, nearly double Apple's standard price. After a bit of a delay, the track made its debut on iTunes on Wednesday.

"Apple is pleased to offer the Band Aid 20 single on the iTunes Music Store to raise funds for the plight of hunger and poverty in Africa," Apple said in a statement. "Since all songs on iTunes are (79 pence), we've decided to sell it for (79 pence), and Apple will donate an additional (70 pence) for each downloaded song to the Band Aid Charitable Trust."