updated 11:35 pm EDT, Tue March 18, 2008
Alternative iTunes models
Apple is reportedly discussing a new iTunes store business model with record companies which would grant iPod owners unlimited access to the library by paying a slight premium for the devices. According to The Financial Times, the plan resembles the Nokia "Comes with Music" deal, wherein Nokia pays record companies almost $80 per handset; Apple is reportedly limiting its offer to $20 per device.
While not announced in any official manner by Apple, two executives who claim to be familiar with the matter say the negotiations are currently in hiatus, due to a disagreement on cost. Supposedly, one executive said research indicates that consumers would be willing to pay a $100 premium for unlimited access to the complete iTunes music catalogue.
Another option is purportedly a subscription model, of which users could pay around $8 per month for similarly unlimited access, where they could keep up to 50 of tracks per year, regardless of if they kept the device or maintained a subscription.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has long disdained subscription models, saying that they have failed to prove a value to customers, who would rather own their music than rent it.
Almost a year ago, several in the industry claimed that Apple was reconsidering its stance on iTunes subscriptions.