Apple threatens to shut down iTunes

Apple has repeated its threat to close down iTunes if the US' Copyright Royalty Board grants the requested 66% increase for sales of digital music from 9 US cents to 15 US cents per track, reports the BBC.

The Board meets today.

The American National Music Publishers' Association has asked for the royalty increase, which Apple opposes. It says it not prepared to increase the retail price nor absorb the higher cost itself.

This is because, according to Apple, increasing the retail price would create a backlash from consumers who are already suffering from tough economic conditions, while paying the extra itself would render the service unprofitable.

Apple points out that it already pays 70% of the price of every track to the music publisher, which then pays a percentage to the originating artist.

In addition, iTunes is facing stiff competition from a number of sources.

A panel of three judges will set the rate on behalf of the Copyright Royalty Board today.

See here for the full royalties story.