As I type this entry, I am downloading Ash's new record, Meltdown. The record was released in the UK on May 17th, but their label in the U.S. (Kinetic Records) just folded, so they have no official release date here. Nonetheless, I am downloading the record through iTunes (iTunes link) for $9.99. I could also buy it as an import through Amazon for $25.49.

Obviously I'm happy that I'm saving $15, but the fact that iTunes is offering U.S. customers British and other European releases is even more exciting. My spidey-sense leads me to believe this has something to do with the impending iTunes Europe launch, which makes me wonder if these import albums were intended to be released to the U.S. or if this was a lucky mistake. If it was intended, then I'll be happy as a clam. In the last year, I've probably imported a dozen albums from the UK, and I would have saved a ton of money if I could have just downloaded them.

This technology could theoretically rid us of the pain of importing albums. When there is no extra cost for shipping or packaging, I should be able to buy the album at the same prices that are available overseas. And, it seems, that is the case right now. I just hope that Apple is able and willing to release a good number of foreign albums to the U.S. market. If they do, I may stop paying for import discs altogether. Saving $15 makes it worth losing out on packaging and a higher quality AAC file. For me, this is bigger than Airport Express or the new G5s.