After much anticipation and media speculation, Apple will launch the European version of its iTunes Music Store on June 15, a source close to the company confirmed.

Apple sent a press invitation on Monday to a news conference it is hosting in London on June 15, which the company sold as "the biggest story in music is about to get even bigger." A spokesman for Apple in the UK would not confirm that the event will be the official launch of iTunes.

The iTunes launch is expected to be a pan-European one, as Apple has repeatedly stated it would not launch the service until it could do it simultaneously in a number of Europe's key markets, including France, the UK and Germany.

Though Apple has already established a toehold in the UK with its iPod music player, it is entering the market after its rival Napster, which launched Napster 2.0 on May 20 and already offers 700,000 tracks.

Earlier in the year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that the company would launch iTunes services in Europe this year and that he expected the company would charge about $0.99 (55p) per track. In the UK, Napster charges £1.09 ($2) per track, or £9.95 for an album.