Apple changes tune on music downloads

APPLE is allegedly talking with the major record labels about a subscription music service that would give customers unlimited access to songs for a monthly fee. Apple iTunes boss Eddy Cue was on the phone with music executives recently trying to build out how the partners can move forward, the New York Post reports.

One source said the service could have tiered pricing ranging from $10 to $15, although there are matters to be ironed out, including how much music would be included in each tier and how long consumers would be able to access that content. One top music executive said the labels are supportive of the idea and believe it could re-energize digital music sales.

While album downloads have been on the rise, single track sales were flat in the first half of 2010 compared to the last year. Speculation that Apple would initiate a subscription service has been kicking around for years but the news that music service Spotify will be part of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 release on October 11 revived industry chatter.

Spotify is a European music service that has yet to broadcast in the US. The company’s faltering block has been its free ad-supported streaming music business model, as the record labels prefer a paid subscription model. It is supposed that there would be some demands for an Apple subscription service, but it wouldn’t be universal.

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