Apple CEO Steve Jobs denied reports that pressure form the music labels is forcing the company to raise prices beyond 99 cents – and stressed that Apple continues to work to launch iTunes Music Store in Europe in 2004.

On Apple's move to launch in Europe, he said: "We will launch in Europe later this year. We are working with the music companies there and in other areas."

"There is a lot of work left to do," he said.

Jobs also discussed the cost of sound: "We think 99 cents is the price consumers want," he said, "and the price will remain 99 cents per song. Rumours to the contrary are just not true."

Fair enough Jobs also denied reports claiming Apple has been under pressure to license its digital-rights management system FairPlay to other companies, citing market share.

"iPod is the most popular MP3 player in the world, and has close to 50 per cent market share of the entire MP3 player market, including those little $50 devices."

Jobs refused to go into details of its negotiations with individual labels, but said: "Apple and the iTunes Music Store charge 99 cents per song – and that's what it remains."

Apple's leader admitted that some albums cost more than the $9.99 Apple charges for most of its long-players, revealing: "We encourage the labels to price their albums (at $9.99) as over 40 per cent – as far as I know approaching 50 per cent – of sales on the store are as entire albums."

With Apple's album-friendly sales track record in mind, Jobs touched on recent debate that online music would cannibalize the album market: "We see in future album prices going down, not going up, as that's what it will take to sell more albums."