iTunes Weighs Unlimited Access

Apple’s iTunes store may soon offer unlimited access to its music collection. A flat fee paid with new iPod purchases or a monthly subscription would allow the customer to download as many tracks as they wanted at no extra charge.
Estimates indicate that an additional $100 charge tacked onto newly purchased iPods would give customers unlimited access to iTunes for the life of the player. Monthly subscription rates would be about $7-$8. Downloaded tracks would still be subject to the same DRM technology as standard iTunes tracks (presumably excluding those tracks that currently lack DRM).
Many aspects of the plan are still up in the air, and Apple will not make any official comment about the report, first issued by the Financial Times on March 18. Some analysts state that the idea makes good financial sense for all parties, while others call it ill advised.
Assuming it does make financial sense, questions remain. The original report indicates that monthly subscriptions would be available only to iPhone owners; fees would be included in phone bills each month. That leaves the status of existing iPod owners and those who don’t own the iPhones in question. If subscriptions only become available to iPhone users, can others opt into the program by paying the flat $100 fee? Will customers be forced to pay the one-time fee when purchasing new iPods, or be allowed to opt out?
As of now, there are no answers to any of these questions. Expect more speculation long before any solid answers emerge. Still, the news should prove tantalizing to music lovers dreaming of iTunes shopping sprees.



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