I read today on the ListeningPost about rumors that iTunes is planning to launch an unlimited music subscription service in late October with the release of iTunes 7.8. It’s reported the annual subscription fee will be $130/year (or $100 for MobileMe subscribers) and will give users the ability to download to nearly half of all the songs in the iTunes store in a 256-Kbps format. The other half apparently will require a new deal with copyright holders.
It sounds like the model will operate similar to Rhapsody. Subscription songs would be playable in iTunes and would be transportable and playable on certain devices – namely the iPod and iPhone. According to the tipster, when you log on to iTunes, you will get the option to ‘Buy’ (purchase and keep) or ‘Get’ your music (download and Play throughout iTunes Unlimited Subscription).
Hooray for Apple for taking a step in the right direction. I’ve long been a proponent of the subscription-based music model and a huge fan of services like Rhapsody. It just makes sense. And with the emergence of even more technologies like Topspin, we will see more and more artist going direct to fans with subscription-based offers.
Now if only Apple would budge on their DRM policy and move to pure MP3s.