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Last Updated: Monday, 26 January, 2004, 14:10 GMT
Napster angry over Europe 'delay'
Napster wants to expand its service into Europe
The head of US music download site Napster has accused European licensing groups of holding back legitimate online music companies, it is reported.

Chris Gorog said failure to reach agreement on licensing music had sped up illegal internet piracy in Europe, according to FT.com. Napster, which recently re-emerged as a legal service, plans a European launch.

But it has had to delay its expansion because of complex licensing talks with collection groups in separate nations.

"As each day passes that Napster isn't operating in Europe, substantial amounts of money are lost to pirates because there is no legal alternative available," FT.com reported Mr Gorog, chairman and chief executive of Napster, as saying.


He was speaking at the annual Midem music conference in Cannes, the music industry's most important international gathering.

"We would like to debut with more than half a million tracks in Europe... but we are months away from a resolution," he added.

Napster, which began as an illegal file-sharing operation, was the company that started the online music explosion.

It has more than 500,000 tracks available on its subscription service, but is said to be frustrated by the slow pace at which collection societies have been signing licensing deals.

Its US rival Apple has sold more than 30 million songs on its US service since its launch last year.

According to the report, analysts are forecasting sales of up to $110m (61m) for Napster for the financial year ending in April.

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