May 1, 2006 5:54 PM PDT

Apple, labels stick with 99 cents per iTunes song

Apple Computer and four major record labels have renewed their deals to sell songs on iTunes for 99 cents, an Apple representative said Monday.

"We've renewed our agreements with the major music companies and we're pleased to continue offering iTunes customers music at 99 cents per song from a library of over 3 million songs," the representative said in a statement. Earlier on Monday, the Financial Times reported that the four major labels--Universal, Warner Music Group, EMI and Sony BMG--had agreed to the deal, which the Apple representative confirmed.

Label representatives were not available for comment.

Apple enjoys a dominant position in the market for online music, providing around 80 percent of legal music available online. It has sold songs at 99 cents per song since it introduced the iTunes music store in 2003, and has resisted the calls of labels to change that pricing strategy. Record labels would like to charge different prices for more popular or newer songs.

However, an New York investigation into whether record labels have worked together to set the prices for digital music was expected to keep the 99 cent model intact for the foreseeable future.

Apple declined to comment on how long the new deals will last.

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