Labels have refused to accept terms of iTunes licensing deals.
The United Kingdom's Assn. of Independent Music (AIM) is asking its member labels to hold firm in their refusal to accept terms set by Apple for the licensing of their repertoire to the newly launched iTunes Music Store in Britain.
Speaking at the AIM annual general meeting today (June 22) in London, the organization's chairman, Alison Wenham, urged her members to stand united on the issue.
iTunes launched last week in the U.K., Germany and France, but without repertoire from indie labels, which refused to sign licensing deals under the conditions Apple had proposed.
Wenham referred to a similar row last March between MTV and European indies over compensation for playing videos. The indies did not accept the terms of the deal, and MTV eventually went back to the negotiating table and brokered an 11th-hour agreement. Wenham said this success on the part of the indies "demonstrated collective unity at its best" and "set a standard for others to follow."
Wenham said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs "is banking on the fact that some [indies] will crack and accept his proposal. We have to stand firm. He needs to give [indies] the respect they deserve."
Also during the meeting, four new members joined the AIM board: Martin Goldschmidt, chairman of Cooking Vinyl; Russel Coultart, CEO of Recordstore.co.uk; Martin Mills, chairman of Beggars Group; and former Undertones frontman Feargal Sharkey. Mills and Goldschmidt are rejoining the board after having serving previously.
Among those they replace is Ninja Tune founder Peter Quicke, who also served as AIM's vice chairman. A new vice chairman will be elected at AIM's board meeting next September.