Report: Apple plans iPhone, iPod music rentals

According to the Financial Times, Apple is currently negotiating with major music labels to offer an optional unlimited music rental service for iPods and iPhones, as well as an alternative subscription-based monthly service for iPhone users. Under the “comes with music” plan, the Times reports, premium versions of the iPod and iPhone would be bundled with “free access to its entire iTunes music library,” likely for the lifetime of the device, and enable consumers to “keep up to 40 or 50 tracks a year, which they would retain even if they changed their device or their subscription lapses.” A separate subscription plan would offer iPhone users monthly access to the iTunes music catalog for a recurring fee.

While Apple has not commented on the topic, and has previously dismissed the value of music subscription plans, “executives familiar with the negotiations” claim that the offering depends on Apple’s willingness to pay more than an initially offered total of $20 or so per device. Nokia has already planned a similar offering for its cell phones with a total payout of nearly $80 per phone.

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