'All you can eat' iTunes for iPhone and iPod customers

19 March 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
Owners of an iPhone or iPod could soon have access to an 'all you can eat' system of buying music via their electronic gadgets, in return for a one-off payment or subscription.

According to reports, Apple is currently in talks with the big names of the music industry about offering its customers a revolutionary way of gaining access to its huge database of music – downloading all the music they want either by paying a monthly fee or a premium price for their Apple iPhone or iPod.

One music executive has revealed that consumers could pay an additional $100 at the time of purchase, or a monthly subscription charge of $7-$8. The subscription method would only work with the iPhone, because, unlike iPods, customers have a monthly billing relationship with their provider, but the surcharge method could be applied to both devices.

This could save users who download music on a regular basis a hefty amount; someone downloading 10 tracks per week at £0.79p each, approximately £30 a month, could have access to the entire music library at a much lower cost than paying for each track individually.

Peter Kafka, writing for the American blog Silicon Alley Insider, said that the advantages for Apple and the music industry are also numerous, as it "gets to rejuvenate its slowing iPod line, and makes the iPhone even sexier. The flailing music labels get a slice of guaranteed income, bolstered by the world's most inventive consumer electronics company."

Currently, Apple is reported to be making relatively little profit from iTunes, compared to hardware sales, because, as Mr Kafka explained, it only gets a third of the profit from each tune sold; the rest goes to the record company which owns the rights to the song, so this would offer the computer manufacturer an opportunity for higher returns.

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