It's a move that could be as big as when Apple first launched iTunes. The company is now looking into creating a new music platform that would allow customers to stream tracks from the cloud instead of requiring access to a local music file, according to a Cnet report.
The site says Apple has been in talks with major record labels about the initiative, and that EMI and Warner Music are all but ready to sign on the dotted line.
Reportedly, Universal Music and Sony Music are also in the final stages of discussion and are eager to get their terms sealed down as well.
The new service would be an extension of iTunes, not a new platform, though it's unclear what the exact terms would be.
This step comes quickly after Amazon launched its own cloud-based music streaming service called the Amazon Cloud Player. Similar to the iTunes approach, Amazon also charges users for each individual song file. With the Amazon Cloud Player, though, they need only pay for a song once and can then play it back on any device that supports the Cloud Player. So there's no need to worry about losing the MP3 file or not having the means to transfer it to another computer.
Apple has historically been slow to respond to change in the digital music business, largely because it is seen as the establishment and not flexible in terms of changing. For example, it took years for the company to get rid of music DRM and turn iTunes into an MP3-downloading platform. It also prevents users from ever re-downloading a track even if they've already paid for it.