Apple’s pay-per-song approach to peddling music online through the iTunes store may soon be joined by a new all-you-can-download option based on the purchase of a player, or a subscription fee. According to the Financial Times, Apple is currently in talks with major music labels over the proposed service.
The plan could offer unlimited downloads for a monthly subscription fee, as services like Rhapsody do, or build the cost of downloads into the cost of Apple’s portable devices, as Nokia has done with its “Comes with Music” devices. Nokia’s approach gives portable owners unlimited downloads for one year, and the ability to keep their libraries without paying when the service runs out.
According to unnamed executives cited in the Financial Times, the remaining dispute between record labels and Apple concerns price. Nokia reportedly pays music industry partners $80 per device to offer “Comes with Music,” but Apple will only lay about $20 on the table.
Although subscription models are also a possibility, no details have emerged on what such a service might cost if offered by Apple. Research cited by executives suggests consumers are generally willing to plunk down $7 or $8 per month for it.