Apple signs three major European indie labels to iTunes

Apple was criticized when the iTunes Music Store first launched in the UK, France and Germany in June because of the absence of independent music. That changed on Wednesday when Apple said that it has signed licensing agreements with three major European independent music labels; the agreement adds tens of thousands of additional tracks from leading independent artists to the service's UK, French and German stores.

Beggars Group, Sanctuary Records Group and V2 have all signed on to distribute music through the iTunes Music Store, bringing songs from Basement Jaxx, The Crystal Method, Interpol, The Libertines, Morrissey, The Pixies, Prodigy, Stereophonics, Paul Weller and The White Stripes to iTunes users in the UK, France and Germany.

Apple's iTunes Music Store launched in the UK, France and Germany with a catalog of more than 700,000 songs from major label recording artists. Individual tracks are priced at €0.99 or £0.79, with most albums priced at €9.99 or £7.99. Although the absence of independent artists was noted at the time of the service's introduction, Apple still managed to sell an impressive amount of music during its first week of operation in those countries: Apple reported sales of about 800,000 songs for its first week, more than 450,000 in the UK alone, outselling its nearest competitor by 16 to 1.

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