Apple mulls subscription-based all-you-can-eat iTunes

Posted by Mark Raby

Apple is reportedly considering a big change to its iTunes music service that would give users access to the entire music library for a monthly fee.

According to the New York Post, which cited talks with Apple VP Eddy Cue, the company is planning on offering the new subscription model at between $10 and $15 per month.

A bunch of other companies offer similar services. Napster and Rhapsody combined have millions of subscribers who pay a monthly fee in return for the ability to stream as much music as they want. Both services also still allow users to purchase individual tracks.

Microsoft also offers a similar service with its Zune music service, though like iTunes it does still have a robust per-song download system.

Although digital music sales are still through the roof, individual track purchases have begun to plateau which is causing content providers to look at new revenue streams.

One of the biggest wild cards is Youtube, which has millions of music videos that users can watch and listen to for free. Music labels earn money there through advertising deals with Youtube. But it begins to make companies that charge for music streaming seem less relevant.

For its part, Apple just wants to stay ahead of the curve. Its iTunes platform is still the #1 music store in the country and it doesn't want to do anything to jeopardize that.