The future of Apple’s iTunes music store could be decided today if the Copyright Royalty Board backs a proposal to raise royalties.

At least that’s what iTunes’ vice president, Eddy Cue, told the CRB.

He has warned that Apple would close iTunes if the board agrees to the increased rates proposed by the National Music Publishers’ Association.

The NMPA wants to raise the royalties paid to its members on songs purchased from digital music stores like iTunes.

The NMPA wants to levy a 66 per cent increase – raising the charge from nine cents a track to 15 cents.

Apple, the US’s largest music retailer, postures that it would rather shut iTunes than pay the higher rate.

“If the [iTunes music store] was forced to absorb any increase in the … royalty rate, the result would be to significantly increase the likelihood of the store operating at a financial loss–which is no alternative at all,” Cue wrote in a statement submitted to the CRB last year.

“Apple has repeatedly made it clear that it is in this business to make money, and most likely would not continue to operate [the iTunes music store] if it were no longer possible to do so profitably.”

With revenues estimated at USD $1.9 billion in revenue last year there would seem to be some slack for absorbing the 6-cents-a-track royalty increase.

Or maybe they could just pass it on to consumers and blame the NMPA!

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