How to Buy Music & Apps Using the US iTunes Store & Mac App Store in South Africa
A BlaBla Blog Illustrated How-To-Guide
South African music lovers and Apple product users have long suffered at the hands of draconian regional licensing issues when it comes to downloading music from legitimate sources such as iTunes. The same applies to many applications (especially games) that iPhone, iPod and iPad users around the world have access to, but which are not available for purchase in the iTunes South Africa shop.
I believe that part of the reason for the lack of games in the South African iTunes and Mac App Stores is due to the exorbitant fees charged to developers by the Films & Publications Board in order to get their software rated – a South African legal requirement for all such software. (I heard an amount of R1400-odd per application being required?)
Music lovers are particularly frustrated by the digital rights, regional licensing agreements and copyright provisions that are placed on purchasing downloadable music in South Africa. The record companies and their agents have made the process so laborious and fraught with overly-complicated legalities that Apple decided to completely exclude sales of music products (and video as well) in their South African iTunes Store from it’s launch a couple of years ago. In the deepest sense of irony imaginable, this has resulted in occasions where music produced by South African artists and listed on iTunes Stores could not be bought by South Africans, in South Africa. A recent example was the release of Die Antwoords’ $O$ album.
So what’s a legitimate fan to do? You want to support your favourite artists, you want to make sure that local music is rewarded whenever you can, and you don’t feel comfortable going the torrent downloading piracy route.
Well, we have a possible solution that has been around for a while now, and seems to work fairly well. Whilst it’s not 100% in accordance with various T&C’s, it is a preferable option to taking the path to piracy and free music downloading at the expense of hardworking musicians, artists and developers.
Important Disclaimer: The process described in these notes violates the Terms & Conditions of the US iTunes Store and the US Mac App Store. Neither the author nor The BlaBla Blog endorse this violation, nor do we encourage you to do so. This post is simply intended to provide a possible solution to a frustrating problem for many South African music fans and for Apple iEverything users. If you choose to follow it, be aware that The BlaBla Blog will not be responsible for anything that may go wrong.
- Re-read the Important Disclaimer above.
- Start up your installation of ITunes and ensure that you are signed out of any existing iTunes Store account that you may have. To do this, activate the present store by selecting “iTunes Store” from the menu sidebar and then select “Store” from the top menu bar and click on “Sign out…”. If you see the words “Sign In…” here then you are aces!
- Switch to US iTunes Store . To do this, scroll to the very bottom of the iTunes window and look in the bottom right-hand corner. You’ll see the flag of the last Store that you had active – the SA Store in the image above. Click on the flag, and then select the United States in the resulting window.
- Once the US Store has loaded, (you’ll know you are in the right place immediately – look at all the sub-stores they have there!) switch to the Apps Section.
- This is a VERY IMPORTANT step: Look down the right-hand sidebar and select any application under the “Free Apps” category. Click on the “Free” button besides the apps name.
- A Sign-In dialogue box will pop up. Click on the “Create New Account” button.
- Click “Continue” on the Welcome to the iTunes Store window.
- Complete the required Apple ID Details information. Use a non-SA email address (try Gmail for example). Note the password requires at least 8 characters and must contain at least 1 uppercase letter, 1 lowercase letter and 1 number. The email address you use here becomes your Apple ID (your username basically). The address must be valid and accessible as you will have to to go to it to confirm and activate your new iTunes Store account shortly. Click “Continue”.
- The Details screen appears. Very Important here is to ensure that you select “None” as you preferred payment method. If you don’t see “None” as an option – only credit cards and PayPal – then you have missed something in an earlier step. Probably Step #5. Go back, confirm you are in the US Store, and make doubly sure that you select a Free App to download.
- The Details screen also requires a valid American address and postal code. This is where you get creative, or use a US address that you know, or let Fake Name Generator do it for you: Go to www.fakenamegenerator.com, confirm that the ‘Country’ option is set to “United States” and click on the “Generate” button. Note that you can use your own name and surname, or your generated one, or even make another one up – Apple does not check this info.
- Complete the required address details on the iTunes Store details screen and click on “Continue”.
- Head over to your email account and click on the “Verify Now >” link in the message. This will launch your internet browser and take you to the My Apple ID – Email Verification site. Log-in with your email address and password to verify your account.
- All that’s left to do now is to credit your newly verified US iTunes Store account with some spending money. There is only one way to do this: get a iTunes Store Gift Card (or Voucher Code as it’s seems to be referred to online). You obviously cant use your South African credit card or SA registered PayPal account as the billing addresses wont match and your account will most likely be frozen. Nope, unless you have a credit card issued against an American address you’ll need to get or buy iTunes Vouchers. (And if you do happen to have a US addressed credit card you really shouldn’t be bothering with all of this – just use that address to register your US iTunes Store account!)
- So, how do you get one of these iTunes Store Gift Card/Voucher thingies? in one of two ways basically: (a) you get someone in the States to buy them for you there, and let you have the codes; or (2) you buy them yourself via any one of a number of online vendors. For most of us, option (2) will be the one we use so here are a couple of sites to consider using for your purchase:
Revised iTunes Vouchers & Vendors List
- Whichever way you decide to go, once you have your iTunes Store Voucher codes in hand, head back to your iTunes application, go to the iTunes Store link (making sure that you are logged into the US iTunes Store with your new account of course) and click the “Redeem” link under the Quick Links section near the top right of the screen. Enter your code and you should be all good to go! (When redeeming your code, you will be asked to re-enter your account password.)
- This process and the account you’ve created should now allow you to purchase any item in the US iTunes Store – music, video, apps, the lot. It should also work for Mac App Store purchases if you are using that service via your Apple MacBook. Obviously you’ll need to log in to the Mac App Store using the Apple ID account credentials you just created.
- Let us know if you try this, if you find a better iTunes Voucher deal anywhere, or if you just want to say thank you 🙂