I’ve always though that the prices in Apple’s iTunes store were pretty reasonable - okay you don’t get a physical copy of the song or album you are buying but then you normally pay a bit less too so what’s to complain about?

Unlike other music retailers they don’t have sales which means that at the moment you are probably better off buying some albums in the shops as Amazon have them for as low as just a couple of pounds.

The major plus point for iTunes though is that you can purchase songs on their own - how often have you bought an album after having only heard one song, only to find the rest are rubbish?

Looking at the UK iTunes Store in isolation it all seems okay to me then, but if you compare it to other Stores it seems we may be getting taken for a ride pricewise.

Obviously the exchange rate between currencies varies on a day by day basis, so it would be impossible to expect every country to have the same price for songs but apparently Apple are being pressurised to at least try to have some parity on pricing within the Europe region.

Apple(R) today announced that within six months it will lower the prices it charges for music on its UK iTunes(R) Store to match the already standardised pricing on iTunes across Europe in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain.

Apple insist that it’s not all down to them though, and that the music companies charge them more for selling their music in the UK so unless these companies don’t reduce their charges inline with the rest of Europe then Apple will have to consider droppnig their music from the iTunes Store.

Apple currently must pay some record labels more to distribute their music in the UK than it pays them to distribute the same music elsewhere in Europe. Apple will reconsider its continuing relationship in the UK with any record label that does not lower its wholesale prices in the UK to the pan-European level within six months.

“This is an important step towards a pan-European marketplace for music,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We hope every major record label will take a pan-European view of pricing.”

Assuming that everything behind the scenes goes according to plan and we don’t end up with an iTunes Store with all the major music releases missing, it looks like we are in for a better and ultimately cheaper service - in the UK at least.