Universal Music is offering digital distribution deals to UK independent labels, The Guardian reports.

Indie labels are being offered Web hosting and online ticket sales - a boon for those artists frustrated in their efforts to get their music onto iTunes. However, like Apple, Universal wants to negotiate deals on a label-by-label basis, rather than offering a fixed structure.

Universal head of new media, Rob Wells, said: "We believe they'll be earning more money from us than they would be from doing it independently."

One benefit for the service is that labels and artists who sign up for it will see their music included in Universal's weekly 'upload' to iTunes and Napster.