Limitless mp3s for a one-time cost?

MP3 player headphones on a keyboard. The changes in the music industry precipitated by the MP3 have only continued with the rise of online streaming.

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: What if, instead of paying per song, your iPod came with every song on iTunes? There are reports this morning that Apple is trying to work a deal with the music industry. We don't know how much they would charge for unlimited access -- but in surveys, people have said they'd pay up to a hundred bucks. Janet Babin has more from our Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio.


Janet Babin: The Financial Times reports that Apple wants to offer an iPod that comes with a music library. It would cost more, but buyers would no longer have to shell out 99 cents a song.

The deal could increase Apple's marketshare. And with CD sales way down, a subscription model might be the shot in the arm the music industry needs. Or it might not.

James McQuivey with Forrester Research says if people have total access, they'd be less interested in buying online music on the fly.

James McQuivey: You're reducing the chance that you could actually drive people's purchases up. You're guaranteeing a certain purchase level they will never go beyond, because they've already paid for it in their subscription, and that's actually not what the music industry should want right now.

Now that the record labels have finally embraced legal mp3 downloads, McQuivey says they should capitalize on the potential for Internet impulse purchases.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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