iTunes has virtually dominated the market for streaming music, podcasts, Internet Radio, and other media for several years now. As popular as the platform is, however, users will still encounter problems when attempting to access all iTunes features outside of the US. Here’s a quick look at iTunes and how users can unblock it in restricted countries by using a VPN.
Tricky iTunes geo restrictions in order to access the US itunes store from abroad
Apple, the developer and owner of iTunes, actually offers worldwide service, and iTunes itself is a global platform. This only means that it is potentially available throughout the world. Things get a little tricky beyond this basic distinction due to international legal arrangements.
The Digital Millenium Copyright Act, or DMCA, was passed in 1996 in response to the amount of digital media being illegally distributed on the Internet. While the basic premise of the law (protecting the intellectual property of artists) is good, some countries especially prone to copyright infringement and major studios have found it easier to simply restrict their content in areas that are considered hotbeds of illegal filesharing and piracy.
Things get even trickier when you consider that someone with an iTunes account may travel often. Should a service which is permitted in their country of residence be denied to them simply because they are visiting a foreign locale? That is an ethical issue which is certain to be debated for many years to come with no satisfactory conclusion.
Which countries block iTunes?
Technically, no countries block iTunes. Remember, we mentioned that the platform is global and available worldwide. Countries do block access to the media which is delivered via the platform. It’s a Catch-22. If you have electricity but no lamp you are still in the dark. That’s what blockages of iTunes amount to.
On occasion, a country will block the entire iTunes platform. In 2008, China blocked the entire iTunes website because iTunes offered a Pro-Tibet album for download. These intermittent wholesale blockages of iTunes can happen at any time for a variety of reasons.
It makes sense to abide by a simple principle: if you expect to be outside of the US,expect that your iTunes access could be interrupted.
The VPN & Pre-paid itunes card solution
If you already have an iTunes account and simply want to keep your access when you travel abroad, the effective way to do this is by using a VPN. If you are an American, with an American credit card on file, once you connect with your VPN to the iTunes platform you are good to go. Our US VPN server will register your location as being within the US.
But what about those who live outside of the US and want to experience iTunes? It can be done, but you’ll need to follow a few additional steps to make it happen. First and foremost, you will need to purchase a VPN that offers a US server option. When you register your iTunes account you will need to be connected to the US-based VPN. You’ll be asked for some personal information, such as an address, and we’re not going to advise you to simply use a bogus US address. We will tell you, however, that iTunes does not check your address unlesss you use a credit card for billing.
Since you won’t be able to use a credit card to make purchases, you’re going to need a pre-paid itunes access card. We’ve investigated many sites which provide pre-paid iTunes cards, and the one we will recommend to you is jerrycards.com. They can hook you up with a USA iTunes card quickly and offer several denominations to choose from. They also offer cards for Spotify and other media services which are all delivered instantly worldwide.
Realize up front that you are going to pay a little more for iTunes when using a pre-paid card. For example, a $15 iTunes credit will cost roughly $20 at jerrycards.com. It’s a small price to pay for some people if it helps them use the iTunes service. If you use itunes a lot you may want to go with a $100 pre-paid itunes card.
Our thoughts on iTunes and a VPN
We’re not here to debate ethical issues, so we’ll keep this short and sweet. There is nothing illegal or wrong with using a VPN account to access an iTunes account. You can even use your VPN while you are in the US to access iTunes if you choose to do so. That is your right and privilege.
Is it fair to lose your iTunes access when you travel because the DMCA says that you can’t listen to Maroon 5 or Robin Thicke in Qatar or China? We don’t think so, but everyone has to decide for themselves how they stand on the issue. Some people who reside in countries targeted by the DMCA feel like they shouldn’t be punished for the actions of a few pirates, so they use a VPN to access iTunes. That is their choice. We simply provide information and options for those who want the accessibility afforded by a VPN. Buy your vpn account here.