One of the first things that Steve Jobs wanted to do when he first opened the iTunes Music Store was get the indie labels aboard. Jobs wanted to offer a whole range of music on iTunes; but with the major labels so powerful as it is, the indie labels wouldn’t get the same royalties as the major labels would.
But apparently it has changed: here. According to Digital Music News, Apple increased the wholesale payout of tracks to roughly 70 cents for the indie labels which levels it to the same as the payout for the major labels.
“That makes the increase a very strong nod to the independent artist community, and will likely attract a larger catalog.” With over 500,000,000 songs sold on iTunes, Apple wants to further increase its lead (monopoly) over the other download services. But don’t worry, tracks here in the states will still remain at 99 cents.
I think this helps give the indie labels more leverage and power. Too often the major labels (music, movies alike) wield their strength over the indies, but this equalizes the two further.