Apple May Offer Unlimited Access To iTunes - InformationWeek

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3/19/2008
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Apple May Offer Unlimited Access To iTunes

The company is reportedly in negotiations with record labels to offer iPod and iPhone owners access to the entire iTunes catalog.

Apple could offer unlimited access to iTunes, according to a report in The Financial Times.

The company is negotiating a deal with major recording labels that would allow consumers to pay one price for access to its whole catalog, according to the report. Apple is trying to hash out an agreement on how much it should pay the music companies for a plan that would allow people to pay a premium rate for iPods or iPhones in exchange for all of their music, The Financial Times reported.

The newspaper's exclusive, which cited an anonymous executive familiar with the negotiations, said that Apple offered the music companies $20 per device, while Nokia has offered nearly four times that amount for premium subscriptions. Apple did not comment on the reports.

The news is the latest in a series of developments that reflect the music industry's struggle to shore up profits lost to the transition to digital formats. Hollywood executives, who face similar challenges, have also responded by offering consumers more for less, negotiating unlimited plans with rental businesses like Netflix.

A subscription model or premium pricing through Apple could represent a real opportunity for the music industry.

Apple sold more than 4 million iPhones in just over six months, with a rate of 20,000 per day, CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs recently said. And iPhone owners are much more likely to access online music from their phones than other mobile subscribers, according a recent report. The iTunes Store has sold more than 4 billion songs, according to Apple, which recently upgraded its iPod application to display song lyrics when they are available.

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