Apple to expand European iTunes next month

Speaking at the annual Popkomm conference in Berlin, Germany, Apple vice-president of applications Eddie Cue told music executives that the company will expand the online iTunes Music Store with a multi-country European launch in October. Cue noted that Apple is "well on pace to launch more EU stores" and said that the event "will cover a good portion of western Europe," but he declined to be more specific. The news came in a Reuters story covering Cue's comments.

Apple has sold more than 125 million downloaded songs from its British, French, German and American online music stores but has found it difficult to make inroads in the rest of Europe, with bureaucracy, the prevalence of online piracy and the need to service multiple languages standing in the way. Analysts expect those hurdles to keep European online sales "well below the United States in the next few years," according to the Reuters report.

Cue also used his presence at the trade show to exhort music labels to take advantage of the ease of distributing music online by providing more frequent releases by popular artists. "We shouldn't have to wait every 18 months for a new release," he said. "Now you have the opportunity to release new tracks more often."

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