Apple Strikes Deal With Three European Music Labels

The agreement ends a situation that could have kept many local favorites off Apple's iTunes Music Store in Britain, France, and Germany.
CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) -- Apple Computer Inc. has struck licensing deals with three of Europe's largest independent music labels, ending a discord that would have kept many local favorites off the new iTunes Music Store in Britain, France, and Germany.

Apple officials said Wednesday it had reached deals with Sanctuary Records Group, Beggars Group, and V2, and that it now had a standard agreement with the Association of Independent Music, a trade group representing a variety of independent labels.

Now "tens of thousands" of tracks, such as songs from Basement Jaxx, The Crystal Method, and the Pixies, will be added to the online music store's library of more than 700,000 songs in each country, Apple said.

In Europe, about 22 percent of artists are signed with independent labels.

When the Cupertino, Calif.-based company launched its popular iTunes store in Europe last month, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said independent artists were offered the same contracts as the larger labels, but AIM said its members couldn't agree to the terms.

In the meantime, AIM had agreed to collective deals with Apple's rivals, including Sony Connect, Yahoo, OD2, Wippit, O2 Music, and Napster.

Despite the missing repertoire, Apple said it sold more than 800,000 songs in the first week of the European launch, echoing the market-leading momentum it already has in the United States.

Apple has not disclosed a more current figure for European downloads.

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