Europe mulls region-wide digital music licenses

iTunes could soon be available right across the EU under a new pan-European licensing system envisaged by the competition commissioner.

Europe's licensing system does not allow digital stores to operate across geographic borders, yet music CDs can be purchased online from anywhere in Europe.

European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes will address the disparity in the law, allowing digital music stores like iTunes to acquire one license for the whole of Europe.

"There is a clear willingness expressed by major players in the online distribution of music in Europe to tackle the many barriers which prevent consumers from fully benefiting from the opportunities that the internet provides,” Kroes said.

Kroes will shortly arrange a roundtable with the major players of the online music market to help move towards this goal.

Apple has already indicated it will consider making the service available across Europe if pan-European licenses become available.