Apple says it will equalise its prices for iTunes downloads within six months. Brussels calls it a victory for the consumer.
The EU authorities called off an investigation of the American firm. Consumers in Britain had complained that record companies were restricting choice unfairly and overpricing downloads.
Apple has been charging eurozone customers a few cents less per song than those in Britain.
A spokesman gave the European Commission’s point of view: “The fact that the same content is not available from all… in all the various different European countries, is not the result of a restrictive business practice between Apple and the major record companies. Rather, it is the result of the existing state of copyright legislation, and the fact that some but not all of the major record companies choose not to make available their content on a pan-European basis.”
Analysts say online downloads more than doubled in Britain in the last week of 2007 compared with 2006. The recording industry is looking to online sales to offset falling CD sales.
Touring has taken over from records as the prime money maker of pop music, an industry reeling from illegal file sharing.