Apple Computer is on target to launch a pan-European iTunes Music Store in October. Apple VP of applications Eddy Cue tells Billboard.biz the company is finalizing publishing agreements with the relev

Apple Computer is on target to launch a pan-European iTunes Music Store in October. Apple VP of applications Eddy Cue tells Billboard.biz the company is finalizing publishing agreements with the relevant European collecting societies.

Cue was speaking from Berlin, where he delivered a keynote speech today (Sept. 29) at the opening of the annual Popkomm music trade convention.

Cue confirms that the European store will operate in English, and downloads will cost €0.99 ($1.77) each. The pricing is in line with the French and German iTunes stores, which launched alongside a U.K. service on June 15.

Plans are to eventually continue rolling out localized European stores that feature tailor music programming.

Critics of the current European iTunes stores have argued that their content is weighted too heavily on major-label repertoire. Cue says Apple has been actively targeting independent labels ahead of the pan-European launch. "To be fair to both the indies and ourselves, we always go after the indies, and we will try to go after them aggressively," says Cue. "There's a lot of them, and it's taken us some time to catch up with them."

Cue also confirms that Apple is keeping a close check on the Japanese market with a view to launching a music store there. "Japan is very high on our list. The iPod is doing extremely well in Japan. Hopefully we'll be able to announce something soon," he says.

The company recently announced that its iTunes operations worldwide has generated more than 125 million download sales, while its iPod portable music player has shifted more than 4 million units. Updated sales figures are expected to be unveiled in a quarterly financial report in the next few weeks.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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