Apple is still on course to launch its iTunes Music Store in Europe, but right now it just can't say when. Indeed, expect delays, we are warned, by none other than Apple Europe chief Pascal Cagni. "This [launch] is going to be so important for the future that a few months' delay is not essential," he told Reuters last week.
"When we launch in Europe, we want to do it well," Cagni said. "There can be no compromise on the ease of use, the depth of the catalogue or the responsiveness [of the Web site]." Well, we can trust Apple to at least book sufficient bandwidth and storage capacity, so the third of those factors can be ignored. Ditto ease of use, which Apple has proven with the US version of the service, now running for almost a year.
That leaves "depth of catalogue" as the real issue behind any Euro ITMS launch setback. While Apple's US launch was enthusiastically endorsed by the big labels, over here they apper to be driving harder bargains. We have no direct insight into negotiations between Apple Europe and the labels, but it's telling that talks between Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) and UK-based music service Wippit yielded the digital distributor a fraction of the big label's back catalogue - just 10,000 tracks, and then only for sale in the UK and Ireland, not the whole of Europe.
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News source: The Reg