Labels Given More Response Time On EC iTunes Price Inquiry

Universal Music Group said it was granted a ‘short extension’ to a deadline that expired midnight Wednesday CEST for it to respond to a European Commission investigation into iTunes Store’s pricing policy. The EC first began looking in to the issue in 2005 but this latest probe started in April after countries including the U.K., via its Office of Fair Trading after calls from pro-consumer bodies, referred Apple to commission over prices that vary from country to country. Tracks available via iTunes Store in parts of Europe are more expensive than the US and, in some cases, prices differ within the continent, but Apple blocks customers from logging in to foreign iTunes Stores to purchase their music – that could be against the commission’s single-market ethos. The EC originally asked major record labels and Apple to respond with their views by June 4, before extending that deadline to June 20. Universal said it had requested and been given a short further extension.

Thomson: “The commission said one record company responded before the first deadline, set for midnight on June 4. It added it expects a response from another company today, while two others have been granted an extension until June 29.”