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Posted at 9:30 AM ET, 03/ 4/2011

Unlimited music downloads from Apple?

By Hayley Tsukayama

Apple is talking with major record companies to negotiate unlimited music downloads of purchased music, reports this morning indicate.

That means that customers would be able to listen to music they've bought in iTunes across multiple devices and have a backup in the cloud. Citing anonymous sources "with knowledge of the plans," Bloomberg reported that Apple is talking to Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music, EMI and Universal Music.

If it's true, this move puts Apple in prime position to take on streaming music sites such as Pandora, recent Apple adversary Rhapsody and the European service Spotify, which is rumored to be planning an imminent U.S. launch once it signs deals with all the major labels.

By Hayley Tsukayama  | March 4, 2011; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Apple  
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Comments

This is way overdue. I never purchase music from iTunes or anyplace else where I don't get to download the mp3 (or similar) file without any restrictions on how I can use it.

Posted by: khdetw | March 4, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

@khdetw

If you used iTunes over the past several years, you would know that there is no digital rights management (DRM) on iTunes music. Which means you can listen to your music on any device or computer (mp3 players, xbox 360, ps3, etc).

Posted by: LiberallySpeaking | March 4, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

It's about time. This has been long overdue. Hopefully, others will follow.

Posted by: c0lnag0 | March 4, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

emusic.com used to have this capability, but they dropped it a couple of years ago. Now I have to manage my music collection with the same diligence that I do my personal photo collection. Even if Apple does provide the re-download capability, it doesn't solve the problem of the stuff I have already bought from them or from someone else.

Posted by: slar | March 4, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I fail to see how unlimited downloads of music you have to buy one song at a time can compete with Rhapsody where you can listen to anything in their library at any time (if you have network access) on multiple devices and to download playlists to mobile devices for times you do not have network access for a monthly fee that would allow you to buy 14 or 15 songs on iTunes.

iTunes will not be able to compete until they establish a subscription based service. Rhapsody is like a library, you have access to more music than you could buy in a lifetime for $15 a month (assuming you spent $15 a month to purchase music instead).

Posted by: atrussophd | March 4, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I love how the media always fails to mention that Microsoft has had this capability through it's Zune service for at least a couple of years now.

Posted by: 22206 | March 4, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The reason Rhapsody is so cheap is the sound quality is terrible. It might be good enough for background noise through computer speakers but with decent headphones it is unlistenable. I am no more interested in listening to low bit-rate compressed music as I am wrapping my TV in layers of cellophane and watching that.

The iTunes pricing model is a little on the arrogant side. You can usually find better prices on Emusic and Amazon. In particular Amazon's daily and monthly deals usually blow iTunes out of the water.

Posted by: slar | March 4, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Apple bought a site called lala.com last year. This is exactly what lala.com did: you buy music from them once and you can stream it as long as you want. Also, they had "web songs" that you can rent and stream (only) for 10 cents per track. Add in full album previews and lala.com was a winner. If Apple comes up with something similar (not even better), I am sold.

Posted by: tundey | March 4, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

22206: Zune? Really?? You crack me up!!

Posted by: shabbyreader | March 4, 2011 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I have MOG and have been doing this for several months now. They have a unlimited streaming service for only $5/month or an all you can download to your device (iTouch in my case) and streaming for $10/month. It is the best bargain I've ever seen for music. And the quality is 320 kbps if your internet connection supports it. I love iTunes, but even if Apple gets their "Lala on" I doubt I'd switch from MOG.

Posted by: moonwatcher2001 | March 4, 2011 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Check out the article below for more details about apple's negotiations for unlimited downloads

http://www.thedailytech.co/?p=368

Posted by: wanton777 | March 5, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

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