Europe, which operates six localized music trading sites with more than 8 million registered users, is set to go silent early next month, a spokesman for the company has confirmed.

The properties, which are owned by Vivendi Universal Net USA, will cease music trading on August 8. Vivendi has not made clear why Europe is being shut down and users have yet to be notified, the spokesman said. However,'s partners, including advertisers and record labels, have already been informed of the move, he added. Europe runs localized properties in France, Spain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK. Unlike's flagship North American property, the European sites offer only free music trading from emerging artists and the ability for users to make their own "radio stations" by choosing the types of music they like from the site's catalogue. also lets users buy CDs from the site, as well as download software and receive other services. Europe was established in 2001 to provide localized content for users in the region.

Apple launched its own industry-sanctioned music-download servicem the iTunes Music Store, this spring. At present it is available only to US-based Mac OS X users, but Apple has promised to bring it to Europe and across the rest of the world in the future.