FAQ: The Australian iTunes store

We answer your questions about the Australian version of Apple's iTunes store.

Jeremy Roche
Hi, I look after product development for CBS Interactive in Sydney - which lets me develop a range of websites including CNET Australia, TV.com and ZDNet Australia.
Jeremy Roche
5 min read

updated We answer your questions about the Australian version of Apple's iTunes store.

The basics

How much do songs cost?
Singles are priced at AU$1.69, entire albums generally cost AU$16.99 (prices can fluctuate a little, we're told) and video clips cost AU$3.39. All podcasts are free.

What format is the music stored in?
Protected MPEG-4 container files with encoded AAC streams (*.m4p) at 128kbps. Every song purchased from iTMS is encoded in Apple's Fairplay digital rights management (DRM) that is built into the QuickTime technology used in iTunes and iPod music players. Fairplay digitally encrypts AAC audio files so that they can only be played back on up to five authorised computers.

Do I need a credit card to sign up for an account?
You can sign up for an Apple iTunes account with a debit or credit card, so long as it's a Visa, Mastercard or American Express card issued by a bank in Australia. If you don't want to use a credit or debit card, you can purchase a pre-paid iTunes Music Card (see below for more information).

Can I preview songs for free?
Yes, iTunes allows you to listen to a 30 second sample of any song for free — simply double-click it.

Is there a way to add songs to a shopping cart and pay for them all at once rather than buying each song individually?
Go to Edit -> Preferences and click on the Store tab, select "Buy using a Shopping Cart" instead of the "Buy and download using 1-Click" option.

How do I subscribe to a podcast?
The iTunes store has a searchable directory that allows you to find shows by genre, artist or title. Once you've tracked down your preferred podcasts, just click the Subscribe button, and new episodes will be downloaded straight to your library. You can also set up your iPod to automatically update its podcast section whenever it's connected to your computer.

If you've found a podcast on the Web, you can still subscribe to it through iTunes. Just go to the Advanced pull-down menu, choose Subscribe to Podcast, and type in the URL.

What is iTunes Plus?
iTunes Plus songs have a higher bitrate than other tracks -- 256kbps compared to 128kbps. They also do not have digital rights management (DRM) software protection. This means there are no restrictions on transferring your songs to other devices or burning them to CD.

I hear you can get games from the iTunes store now.
You can indeed. Games such as Tetris, Mini Golf and Texas Hold'em can be purchased for AU$7.49 each, or AU$67.41 for a set of nine. Note that these titles are only compatible with fifth-generation video iPods or later -- they won't play on other models or in iTunes.

Gift cards

Is there any way I can give iTunes credit as a gift?

Gift certificates from AU$20 to AU$200 can be purchased through the iTunes Music Store and either printed or e-mailed to the recipient. Pre-paid iTunes Music Cards in AU$20, AU$50 and AU$100 denominations are also available through stores such as Coles, Myer, Megamart, BI-LO, JB Hi-Fi, Kmart, Target, Officeworks and Harris Technology.

I scored an iTunes gift card. How do I redeem it?
On the home page of the iTunes store you'll see a box at the top right titled Quick Links. Click on the Redeem link and you'll be prompted to enter the alphanumeric code on your card.

Why do I have to give my credit card details when I try to redeem a gift card?
You don't! When you redeem a prepaid card or certificate you will need to create an account for the iTunes store, but you don't have to enter your credit card number. When you are given the option to enter your info during the sign-up process, just click the None button on the Payment screen.

International stores

Can I buy songs, TV shows or movies from another country's iTunes store?
Generally no, unless you have a credit card and billing address in the country you want to buy from.

It is also not possible to purchase a gift card for another country's store — or to use your local store to redeem a gift card bought in another country.

My iTunes somehow switched its store to the American one. How do I get back to the Australian store?
Scroll down to the bottom of the store homepage and you'll see a drop-down box with a flag button next to it. Choose "Australia" and you'll be whisked back to the local store.

Why aren't some TV shows and movies available in the Australian store?
This has to do with differing copyright and licensing laws between countries.

Most overseas movie and television studios have not licensed Apple to sell their productions in Australia. Unfortunately, there's nothing Apple can do unless they're granted the rights.

As far as TV goes, content from the ABC, Nine Network, and Disney Channel, MTV, Universal and Disney's ABC Studios is now available on the store.

Shows on offer include popular American series Desperate Housewives, South Park, Lost, House, The Office and Grey's Anatomy as well as local productions such as Summer Heights Heigh, Sleek Geeks and Canal Road.

Episodes can be downloaded individually for AU$2.99 each. Some shows can be purchased by the season: series four of Lost retails for AU$41.86 while all eight episodes of Summer Heights High can be obtained for AU$21.99.

Why is the Australian iTunes Music Store more expensive than the US one?
We're not entirely sure of the breakdown of Apple's AU$1.69 charge, but you are correct: US$0.99 only equates to about AU$1.12 (at the time of publishing). The strong Aussie dollar is a factor, but take note also that the Australian price includes 10 percent GST, whereas in the US, Apple is required to charge tax in states where music downloads are taxable. UK residents are hit a little harder than us, where it costs £0.79 per song (roughly AU$1.86) and VAT is included in the price.

Listing your work in iTunes

I'm an Australian artist. How do I get my music into the iTunes store?
Under the music marketing section of Apple's Web site, you can submit an online application to have your music added to the iTunes Music Store. Apple states it will review the application and contact you if it is interested in including your music. The application form requests the size of the music catalogue (number of tracks, number of albums) to which you have distribution rights as well as the genre of music.

I've created a podcast and I want to showcase it to the masses. How can I get it listed in the iTunes store?
You'll need to post your episode files on a server with a publicly accessible URL, create an RSS feed, then submit the feed URL to iTunes (click the Submit a Podcast link in the store's Podcast section). More information on the submission process, including tech specs and naming tips, can be found in Apple's guide.

Do you have other iTunes questions for us? Send them to cnet@cnet.com.au and we'll do our best to get them answered.