A pan-European online music licensing deal appears more likely as copyright agencies in Belgium and the Netherlands have agreed to such a framework.

The European Commission (EC) has been working to arrange a pan-European framework for digital music.

At present, digital music services must negotiate with 16 different copyright agencies in order to launch services here.

The EC argues that this slows the market down, and has threatened to: "Sue the music industry on competition grounds if national bodies did not change the way they enforced online copyright restrictions", according to the BBC.

No music monopoly in free market

"Copyright licensing procedures based on national territories are difficult to reconcile in a borderless online world," the Commission said.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "Online distribution brings many benefits to artists and to consumers. I am committed to ensuring that the licensing system does not hamper the development of a genuine European single market between collecting societies to the benefit of these artists and consumers."

Europe hopes to reach a deal with other copyright agencies by October, and confirmed it will act against those that do not reach an agreement.