Apple's iTunes Music Store Europe may launch with limited tracks from UK independent labels, sources claim.
A source from within the UK's Association of Independent Music (AIM) explained: "Talks have been ongoing over the weekend, but I'm hearing they broke down today." It appears Apple has presented terms to Europe's independents that are unacceptable to them, and the computer company is not prepared to shift its position.
If this report proves true this will mean Apple will launch its store – at present anticipated to open for business tomorrow in the UK, France and Germany – without key musicians that define the UK market.
Independent labels account for 25 per cent of music retail sales in the UK, and 22 per cent across Europe. There is an extensive list of successful independent artists including: Travis, Basement Jaxx, Franz Ferdinand, Dizzee Rascal, So Solid Crew, The White Stripes, The Strokes, Royksopp, The Pixies, Lemon Jelly and Coldcut.
While some of these artists are available through Apple's US store, European digital distribution rights must still be secured. The source suggests that at present it appears likely that no songs from any of these artists or from larger independents such as Beggar's Banquet will be available through Apple's service, though they warned: "This may still change".
Independent US label Six Degrees – which has experienced "excellent results" on Apple's US Music Store – has declined to sign up for Apple's European service. Sources say this is because the terms on offer from Apple were unaccptable to the company.
While Macworld doesn't possess full details regarding Apple's negotiations with the independent labels yet, it appears the computer company is attempting to implement deals the independents consider to be "commercial suicide" in the offline world.
Apple declined to comment on this story.
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