After much anticipation and media speculation, Apple Computer Inc. will launch the European version of its iTunes Music Store on June 15, a source close to the company confirmed.
Apple sent a press invitation on Monday to a news conference it is hosting in London on June 15, which the Cupertino, California, company sold as "the biggest story in music is about to get even bigger." A spokesman for Apple in the U.K. would not confirm that the event will be the official launch of iTunes.
The iTunes launch is expected to be a pan-European one, as Apple has repeatedly stated it would not launch the service until it could do it simultaneously in a number of Europe's key markets, including France, the U.K. and Germany.
Though Apple has already established a toehold in the U.K. with its iPod music player, it is entering the market after its rival Napster LLC, which launched Napster 2.0 on May 20 and already offers 700,000 tracks.
Earlier in the year, Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs said that the company would launch iTunes services in Europe this year and that he expected the company would charge about US$0.99 per track. In the U.K., Napster charges £1.09 (US$2) per track, or £9.95 for an album.
IPod owner Toby Burton got most of the 5,300 songs on his iPod from downloading his CDs into his PC but said it would be nice to have the option of buying individual tracks from iTunes if the price is right. "Depends how much it costs per track. If it's more than £0.25 per song, it's not worth it," he said. "You can buy a lot of albums for £5 in the shops and they sound a lot better, so it would have to be competitive with that," he said.