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iTunes users hijack iMixes to demand indie content

Activists co-opt Apple's own technology

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Apple's incorporation of "dozens" of independent record labels into its UK iTunes Music Store catalogue is not enough for a number of the company's customers who are using Apple's own technology to petition the iPod maker to reach a deal with UK indies.

And it's clear other customers are responding to confirm their support for these demands.

When Apple rolled out iTunes 4.5 last April, it added iMix, a feature will lets punters anonymously create, name and post playlists. Other iTunes users can lend their support to their favourite iMixes through a simple voting system.

Since iTunes' UK launch on 15 June, quite a few iMixes have appeared that berate Apple for its lack of indie content. And, as you can see from the screenshot below, these 'rebel' iMixes are gaining sufficient votes to push them to the top of ITMS' list of most popular iMixes.

Apple certainly approached a number of large UK indies prior to iTunes' British launch, but failed to reach an agreement with them. It is believed that Apple's insistence that any deal struck should allow it to maintain its across-the-board £0.79 per track pricing scheme, plus a demand for long-term contracts, was more than some labels were willing to stomach.

Indie labels have also accused Apple of offering different terms to major labels than they themselves have been offered, but Apple CEO Steve Jobs has denied this claim.

Apple hopes that the labels will come on board when they see the benefits that its pricing scheme brings: a greater number of punters, who are paying for and downloading more songs. It no doubt argues that being a part of the DRM-protected but popular iTunes, whatever the terms, is better than being outside of it.

iTunes' pro-indie playlists

Music industry sources tell us 'on again, off again' talks are taking place between Apple and a variety of indie labels, but no resolution yet appears in sight. ®

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Indie labels reject iTunes
Apple iTunes Europe shifts 0.8m songs in first week
Apple opens iTunes in the UK, France and Germany
Apple posts major iTunes upgrade
BMW to add iPod in-car interconnect
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