About a week ago, my Dad signed us up for a Spotify family plan. Spotify is a music streaming subscription, you get almost all the music under the sun for a monthly fee. While I do prefer actually owning the music, it’s just much more convenient to have something like Spotify. Instead of having to manually transfer new songs to my phone, I simply press a button and the song gets downloaded.
In the States, I had premium Spotify for a month because I got it for free. I absolutely loved it but it was kinda expensive when I compared it to the Philippines. You see, a lot of companies have different prices for different regions or countries. Spotify in the States costs $10 a month but here in the Philippines, it costs P130 (less than $3). That’s quite a price difference, which is why I didn’t get a premium in the States aside from the free month they gave me. This isn’t a new thing that only Spotify does, quite a few companies do it, especially when it comes to digital goods.
Another good example would be Steam, an online video game store. Steam usually has seasonal sales, and while I was in the States, a sale happened to occur. During the sale, my friends would sometimes mention games they wanted or bought. One of my friends lives in New Jersey and would ask my friends in the Philippines what the price of a certain game is here. Usually, it would be about half if you were to convert it. This also applied to new games, usually, new games would have a price of $60, but here, they cost about P1500-P2000 ($30-$40), quite a big difference. The downside in some cases though is that you have to wait longer before the game is released here in the South East Asia region, maybe due to licensing issues or some other weird reason. The States usually always gets stuff first if the game isn’t a simultaneous release.
Of course, you may wonder, why don’t people in the US just buy stuff here? Well, companies usually make it impossible or really annoying too. Your location is usually verified and if you aren’t where you say you are, they won’t show you the lower prices. There is software out there to make it look like you’re somewhere else though, but there are other measures taken. In Spotify’s case, you can only use your account for 14 days outside the country you are registered to, any more than that and you have to switch the country which removes your premium (I think, that’s what it did for me). For Steam, you aren’t allowed to gift games to friends living in regions with more expensive pricing and some games are region locked so you can’t play them outside the region you purchased them in.
I feel like it’s weird having different prices for different regions, but it makes sense because of the difference in the value placed on money in each country/region. There are so many factors to this like the average income of the people in the country. If they priced their product the same as in any other region, no one might afford it or it would be too cheap and they would be losing potential profit.