Apple, Indie Labels 'Close' to iTunes Pact-Source

Apple is meeting with the top independent labels this week to figure out a deal to offer songs for its other iTunes Music Stores. When Apple released its iTunes Music Store overseas it didn't get a lot of sales. This was due in part to the lack of independent artists like The White Stripes, Carla Bruni and Lemon Jelly. Hopefully if this deal goes through Apple will get the boost they need.

iTunes Europe customers may finally be able to download tracks from The White Stripes and Franz Ferdinand as their music labels inch toward a deal this week with Apple Computer Inc., a source said on Tuesday. "It's close, real close," said the source. The imminent signing would end the on-again-off-again negotiations that have kept hundreds of artists signed to a collection of independent labels off the European version of iTunes. Apple last month launched iTunes in Germany, the United Kingdom and France. It sold 800,000 tracks in its first week in Europe and has sold over 100 million since its U.S. launch 15 months ago.

But to the chagrin of Europe's music fans, iTunes made its debut with some glaring roster omissions. Apple failed to sign scores of indie acts like The White Stripes, Carla Bruni and Lemon Jelly. The computer maker decided to negotiate individually with the top independent labels rather than follow in the footsteps of rivals such as Sony Connect and Napster who inked a single deal with the Association of Independent Music, a UK trade body representing a vast assortment of indie labels. The impasse irked fans who staged a virtual protest on the iTunes store.

News source: Reuters

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