Apple 'close' to accord with indie labels

iTunes may at last get White Stripes et al

Apple is close to signing a deal with major players in the UK independent music label community, sources familiar with the talks' progress have claimed.

According to the Times, an announcement that the iTunes Music Store will get access to key indie acts like the White Stripes and Basement Jaxx could come as early as today.

When ITMS launched in the UK, Germany and France on 15 June, it was only able to offer tracks from a "dozen" independent labels, CEO Steve Jobs admitted. In the UK alone, indies together account for a quarter of record sales.

Unhappy with the terms Apple was offering - the sticking points are believed to be both what Apple was willing to pay to license the songs and the long length of the licence period - indies refused to sign up to the service.

Since then, ITMS customers have made their dissatisfaction with this state of affairs known by posting iTunes playlists - called iMixes - with titles that make their demand for indie tracks plain for all to see.

Not that the absence of indie favourites has hindered ITMS too far. This week it finally sailed past the 100m download mark. However, the indie sector remains a key catalogue component that is currently offered by ITMS' competitors, Napster, OD2/Loudeye and Sony's Connect. ®

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