Assn. previously found pact to disfavor independents

LONDON — Apple has finally agreed terms with European indie record labels to sell their repertoire on its iTunes music store.

Despite having inked terms with the major record companies some time ago, iTunes found itself lagging behind rival service Napster, which had wisely secured rights to indie repertoire before it made its European debut back in May.

Organizations such as the UK’s Association of Independent Music (AIM) had originally refused to participate in iTunes because, AIM says, the terms initially offered to its members “appeared to discriminate against independents.”

However, a month after iTunes’ Euro launch, AIM today revealed that further negotiations have led to the signing of the first contracts. Terms were not disclosed, but some of the biggest indie labels including the Beggars Group, XL Recordings and Sanctuary Records Group have so far penned deals and there is a standard independent template contract that is now available for UK and European Indies directly from iTunes.

Those companies cover such acts as Basement Jaxx, The Strokes, Prodigy, Badly Drawn Boy and Morrissey, but several hundred labels, representing thousands or artists across Europe are expected to sign the agreement in the near future.

Alison Wenham, chairman of AIM and vice president of European indies body IMPALA said in a statement: “The industry’s future is wedded to the success of iTunes and similar services and it’s great news for fans and industry alike that music from some of Europe’s leading acts will soon be available on this service.”

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