According to sources (specifically Financial Times), Apple is in the process of considering offering unlimited music downloads from the iTunes store at no cost to customers who purchase an iPod or iPhone at an inflated price. The concept is basically the same as Nokia’s “comes with music” program which they offer in partnership with Universal Music.
The program would allow customers who have purchased an iPod or iPhone from Apple for a higher price to download unlimited DRM-free music from the iTunes store’s vast collection. The deal is based on the concept of partnerships with record labels within which Apple would pay a fee to allow their customers unlimited access to the labels’ music libraries.
Research has shown that customers are attracted to such bundled packages, and that these would most likely increase sales for both the music record labels and the manufacturer (Apple). However, bidding wars that are currently common are preventing programs like these from becoming a reality. Nokia is apparently offering the record labels approximately $80 per handset sold – divided between the record labels taking part and based on what material can be downloaded for free by the consumers. Apple is rumored to only be offering $20 for the same service, which seems surprising low when compared to Nokia’s and other similar partnerships.
Apple is also rumored to be considering a subscription model for the iTunes store, where users would be able to pay a monthly fee for unlimited downloads of music that is theirs to keep. No other details are yet known, and here is no indication as of yet whether the subscription offered would be for a fixed period or month-to-month. Apple, who many people agree is considering the move in order to boost iPod and iPhone sales, refused to comment on the Financial Times report.