A Dutch music retail chain has launched a music-download service in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Free Record Shop will offer 250,000 tracks for between €0.89 and €1.19 a song – Apple's iTunes sells its tracks for a standard €0.99.

Free Record Shop will soon open online stores in Norway and Finland. According to a Reuters report, it plans to sign on more labels to double the number of tracks available to 500,000 by the end of the year. iTunes offers a 700,000-track library in its current European stores.

An Apple spokesman for the Netherlands told Reuters it intends to launch a "European Union" service in the autumn, but would not specify the precise territories or launch date.