Apple blames record labels for higher prices in Australia

THE biggest company in the world has blamed record labels and move studios for massive mark-ups on digital content offered to Australian consumers through iTunes.

Apple's vice president for Australia, New Zealand and South Asia Tony King spoke for the first time about the costs of digital content through iTunes on Friday.

Mr King fronted a parliamentary inquiry into information technology pricing in Canberra on Friday.

He told the committee the rights holders of the digital content were to blame for mark-ups in Australia as high as 70% when compared to the prices paid by consumers in the United States.

The inquiry previously revealed while Apple had complied with all its taxation obligations in Australia, the company had paid as little as $40 million in tax here, despite generating $6 billion in revenue from Australian customers.

Mr King said the company was acutely aware of cost differences in different countries, and Apple's Australian branch did pass on observations regarding the cost of digital products to its global head office.

He said the pricing of all digital content was based on wholesale prices set through contracts with the labels and studios, and those rights holders often set a higher wholesale price for their products in Australia than in the US.

Mr King represented the company in the hearing after months of stonewalling the inquiry, with the committee having to officially summons the company to appear on Friday.

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