iTunes Music Store Is Coming To Europe; Eventually

Americans are currently enjoying a plethora of services that allow the legitimate downloading of music. For a price, of course; nothingis free to the honest man, but in this new way to buy music, we are pretty much alone in the world.

There are music download services in some countries, but differences in marketing, compensation, and other aspects of the business of music keeps any one service from being adopted across Europe. It is not because no one is trying; representative from Appleis iTunes Music Store and the new Napster are both trying to untangle the web of disparate laws, dictribution deals, and royalties that is currently prohibiting widespread adoption of services like iTMS and Napster.

eWeek is reporting that both Apple and Roxio, owners of the new Napster, are pushing to get their music services available to Europeans, but are running into problems. From the article, Napster, iTunes Eye Europe, Issues Await:

Now that theyive proven US customers will pay for digital music online, Napster and Appleis iTunes are preparing to launch legal download sites in Europe.

If only the market werenit such a minefield.

Europe is scored by a patchwork of different licensing and retail practices. From Sweden to Spain, an album often has different prices and staggered release dates. An Italian singer with a devoted following at home, for example, often doesnit have a distribution deal in Britain.

One big problem: No pan-European agreement exists between record labels and the various agencies that collect royalties for songwriters and music publishers.

For now, companies that sell music online in Europe have to negotiate royalty rates in each individual country -- a nightmare of red tape. Record labels and representatives of writers and publishers across Europe are trying to reach an agreement to make things simpler.

Read the full article at eWeek News.