Italy's main industry trade body FIMI has criticized Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store for neglecting the country's indie labels in its pan-European offering, which launched yesterday.

Italy's main industry trade body FIMI has criticized Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store for neglecting the country's indie labels in its pan-European offering, which launched yesterday (Oct. 26).

While welcoming the rollout of an online music service to the Italian market, FIMI director general Enzo Mazza says the computer giant did not even meet with the country's independent label community before launch.

"We are very much in favor of the legal online distribution of music, but the fact that the indies have been snubbed in this way is, in our opinion, a serious mistake," says Mazza in a statement.

FIMI, which was founded in 1992, has some 100 members, including all four majors and many indies.

An Apple spokesman could not be reached for comment.

FIMI's comments come as the computer giant rolls out its download service in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

Apple's introduction into the British, French and German markets on June 15 was met with similar disapproval from independent labels bodies Assn. of Independent Music in the United Kingdom and Brussels-based Impala. As previously reported, the independents had rejected licensing terms proposed by Apple, resulting in iTunes carrying little independent content at launch.

The new EU version of the iTunes Music Store features more than 700,000 songs from all four major labels and more than 100 indeies.