Thursday, March 20, 2008

Apple Not Planning iTunes Subscriptions After All

Reports that Apple is discussing an "all-you-can-eat" subscription music service with major record labels are overblown, say people in a position to know. But giving customers access to the entire iTunes catalog in exchange for a premium on iPod music players isn't a bad idea—and it's one Apple may need to consider.

According to a story in the Financial Times, Apple (AAPL) would charge enough for iPod and iPhone devices to cover the cost of licensing entire music collections. It would use that premium to create a pool of revenue, a portion of which would be divided among the major music labels, the newspaper said.

Trouble is, no such talks are under way, according to people familiar with Apple's plans. An Apple spokesperson declined to comment. Insiders at major music labels were similarly dismissive. One person familiar with the matter said the idea of subscription plan has been "kicked around" for about a year, but said there have been "no meaningful discussions" on the subject.

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