Aims sights on int'l download sales.

Nielsen SoundScan is launching a new international venture that will track download sales around the world.

The offering, Neilsen SoundScan International World Digital Service, will feature coverage of over 19 countries on three continents including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, as well as the US, UK and Canada.

Initially, 120 sites will be reporting to World Digital Service including Apple's iTunes Music Store as well OD2 and its affiliates,including MSN, Virgin, MTV and CDON. Additional retailers are expected to be announced at a later date.

World Digital Service, which has been quietly monitoring European sales data since May, reports that between May and July over 83 million tracks have been sold in the US, 15 million tracks have been sold in Canada and 9 million tracks have been sold in the UK and Continental Europe. World Digital Service claims 90% coverage in European markets.

Nielsen SoundScan has been tracking download sales in the US since June of 2003. It expanded into Canada at the beginning of this year.