The Copyright Royalty Board in D.C. has an upcoming decision on its table that could have a serious effect on iTunes and digital music sales: a request from the National Music Publishers’ Association demanding a hike in royalty rates on MP3 sales from 9 cents to 15 (or a 66% rise). The six cents is quite literally pennies, but if the hike goes into action, Apple has threatened to close down its iTunes store claiming it would hurt its profits (or it would force them to raise download costs by a dime at least), and force the store to operate at a loss.
Apple hasn’t commented on the threatened shutdown, but this could have serious consequences on Thursday when the board is expected to make its final decision. If Apple claims it will be hurt so bad by the hike, you have to imagine other services like Rhapsody, eMusic, and others will be hurt as well. [Fortune]