Apple’s European iTunes Music Store held up by red tape

“Old-fashioned red tape is delaying the eagerly awaited European launch of Apple Computers’ Internet music store iTunes, a company official said on Saturday. A maze of licensing contracts, music release dates that differ by country and incompatible billing systems have combined to sidetrack the service, which many recording executives still hope will make its European debut in the first half of 2004,” Bernhard Warner reports for Reuters.

“‘We will be here this year. I’m not going to announce the date at this time, but we are working very hard,’ Eddy Cue, vice president of applications and Internet services for Apple, said at the annual MidemNet music conference on the French Riviera,” Warner reports.

Full article here.


  1. Good to hear that they are working hard and now we have a deadline for this minimum 1.7.2004 (and maximum 31.12.2004).
    I can wait till that. If I continue to save this rate I will easily hit that $25 000 =) to be the number one buyer in iTMS ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” /> There is so much to buy.

  2. Hey, One guy from Finland:

    Can you and your EU buddies get it together or not? What’s the hold up?

    Can you explain how the more enlightened EU seem inexplicably inept in allowing the public access to purchase online music?

    Maybe you guys need to call in the French policed to direct traffic at the conference.

    Yeah, that�s the ticket!

  3. It’s funny because alot of the posts I read about the Euro iTMS were complaining about Apple taking their time but now its becoming very clear that it’s not Apple but the damn music companies. It’s ridiculous that they are making them jump through all these hoops just to get the music online. The great part is that once they get their music on the iTMS they are basically writing their own death notices b/c the artists will soon realize that they don’t have to rely on the industrial gorillas to move their music to the public.

  4. Matt:

    Help me out here. iTunes is going great guns in U.S.A.

    Apparently, music companies in the States have not held up online music purchasing.

    So, what makes the music business so different across the Atlantic?

    I suspect it has less to do with business than those in elected office.

  5. I think that even tho it is the European Community now there are still a lot of legacy by products from Europe being made up of so many countries. The US is after all just one country and that made things much simpler. Give the EU a break meat of moose.

  6. If you remember, Jobs said in his interviews after the iTMS was released in the U.S. that the hardest part of getting the thing released was not the development but the record companies actually succumbing to an alternative means of distribution. One in which they didn’t have complete control over. It took Apple over 1 1/2 years to complete the negotiations with the record companies here in the U.S. so you’re point of them not holding it up is a little bit off. Now that they see the public response and the success of the iTMS they’re opening up to everyone.

    I can’t speak to what the Euro music industry is like, but I’m sure the negotiations are 10x more difficult because they are dealing with different countries and different laws. You’re point is well taken about the public officials but, judging by all the news and reports about it I have to suspect that the delay is just the record companies being paranoid and difficult.

  7. It’s not just the music companies…. easy to blame them. It’s the ARTISTS and their contracts with sometimes different labels in each country. There will need to be individual stores for France, Germany, England, Italy, Finland, etc. There cannot be a single store for Europe.

  8. meat of moose?

    The problem is that although Europe is supposed to be one country for trade ( The EU ) in reality the music business and its licensing with music artists is different for each EU country. Thus to have a European itunes Apple has had to arrange all the royalty deals etc. with each country in the EU separately. Now if Apple had to do the same for each state in America how long would it have taken itunes USA to arrive.

    But for all the legal nightmare it is at least great that they are working it all out, just imagine what would have happened if Apple decided to hold of on a USA itunes until Europe, Asia, South America etc. etc. were all sorted out at once.

  9. pkradd, good point about the Artists. There are individual contracts that are involved. I would say though, for the sake of this discussion that when we say “Record Companies” we should thing in terms of the whole ball of wax. There are hundreds of issues we could bring up but the bottom line is that 98% of what needs to be done is dependant on the labels getting their acts together. Good point about the Artists again though. I really didn’t think about them having individual deals with various labels in different countries. This whole thing must be a nightmare for the people at Apple who are working on the negotiations.

  10. Jack:

    My point exactly. The difficulty of getting something done is 10 to the power of “the number of committees times the number of members of each committee”.

    If there were no EU some people in Europe could be jammin’ instead of slammin’ and sighin’ instead of cryin’.


    What makes artists in the U.S.A. different from artists in Europe?

    As you have correctly pointed out it revolves around contracts, and contracts are tied to litigation, and litigation and is tied up in law, and law is written by those in elected office. See, we are right back to square one.

    Yes, I am glad that I can choose to download music if I want, when I want, and where I want.

  11. How about the holdup in our northern neighbor, Canada? iTMS isn’t available there yet – because of licensing problems. You’d think that such problems would get sorted out quickly so that Canadian artists and music publishers could jump on the iTMS bandwagon and stop (or lessen) the illegal downloading of music. Isn’t it in everyone’s best interest to make music easy to obtain legally???

  12. Bill:

    The only thing I can attribute to the delay in Canada is because Apple is so tied up with Europe. Really. I have no idea why it’s taking so long for them. I think, and correct me if i’m wrong, but they’re industry is setup similar to ours.

  13. Bill:

    90% of all Canadians live within 100 miles of U.S.A.

    Tell your buddies in Canada to make friends in the U.S and bring their iPod.

    Hey, we can start iPod refugee centers in every state that borders Canada. “Bring me your tired and huddled masses who wanna jam on their iPods.”

    I can see it now. The new statue of liberty with her iPod and her in-ear headphones. Sniff, sniff. Sorry, guys, I gotta go blow my nose.

  14. It took Apple over a year to get labels/artists to agree to iTMS for the USA. It was not easy for the reasons mentioned by many posters. In European countries there are local artists who are not favorites of other countries and they need to be available on a per country basis in iTMS as well. US artists tend to be more popular world-wide (as do British performers). It’s just a lot of negotiations with lawyers, music publishers, etc. in each territory. I also think that Apple may be aiming to get at least 5 or 6 stores on line simultaneously rather then spreading them out. There is also the fact that computer “farms” will be needed for each country – most likely located in that particular country to run iTMS. It isn’t cheap. All in all I’d say the record companies, artists and Apple all want this to happen. It will by summer I suspect.

  15. pkradd:

    Are you saying that every online music store (iTunes, Napster, MusicMatch, etc.) each had to make its own set of deals individually with each label company and each artist before tunes are made available for the U.S. public?

    Shivers! Tell your buddies from France to Finland not to hold their breaths.

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