French iTunes

My mobile phone carrier here in France is SFR.  One of the incentives offered on my calling plan is CanalPlay+, which is a Netflixesque service (because Netflix n’éxiste pas en France).  I got a text message a few days later from SFR encouraging me to download the app.  I dutifully clicked and a few screen flips later link to browser to iTunes store to…nothing.

I kept trying to research but couldn’t really find anything on forums regarding this issue…because I was looking for problems with the app…not a problem with American iTunes.

Apple has iTunes stores for different countries.  That’s how they can charge more for a song in Australia (they routinely pay around $2 for what Americans normally pay $1 for).  But it’s not just a smart move by Apple to put some price controls in an otherwise free market.  It’s also something that unwittingly prevents access to country-specific apps.

In my case, CanalPlay+ and even SFR Mon Compte (a little app that would let me monitor my data usage in real-time) were only available in the French iTunes store.  So, why don’t you just switch over to French iTunes, Stephen?

Well, you see, there’s not really any fun way to try to get these apps.  I could create a separate iTunes account and then log in, download those two apps, sign back out and then sign back into my American iTunes library.  I have iTunes Match on my account, which is a service that keeps my over 6,000 legal songs in the cloud accessible anywhere, anytime.  Having it means I can’t just switch regions with iTunes and then switch back.  I’d have to cancel the service.

Long story short, I’m too happy with my current iTunes shop to risk it all just to grab two nice-to-have-but-not-necessary apps.  CanalPlay+ would be parfait for my ongoing French learning, as I could continue my intake of French movies.  To speed my uptake of new vocabulary I’ve been French subtitling the movies I already know well, notebook in hand to catch the nouveau vocabulaire.

So as a note to those users of American iTunes you don’t know how good and cheap you have it.  And as long as you don’t have iTunes Match, you can just switch over to another country store, grab an app, and switch back.  Just remember you’re walled out of future updates on that plan.

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