Apple negotiating unlimited music downloads for iTunes customers

Apple is in talks with the major music companies to allow customers who have purchased music through iTunes, greater access across devices according to a report at Bloomberg.

The sources, who wished to remain anonymous, said that Apple is in talks with music companies such as Vivendi SA (VIV)’s Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group Corp. (WMG) and EMI Group Ltd; and that an agreement could be reached by mid year.

Apple and the record labels are eager to maintain the demand for digital downloads, and would offer users more flexibility in how they purchased music, amid the popularity of services like Pandora Media Inc., which don’t sell tracks and instead let users stream songs from the Web, to any device.

An agreement would allow customers a permanent backup of purchased music as well as the ability to copy downloads to iPad, iPod and iPhone devices linked to the same iTunes account, meaning that damaged or lost purchases would be a thing of the past.

The move is also another step closer to universal access, where purchases would be centrally stored on the Internet.

When asked for comment from the aforementioned record labels, all declined to comment; Tom Neumayr, a spokesman for Apple, also remained tight lipped.

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I think it's hard to believe that you could have such a service and be allowed to keep your music downloads on your device itself, in a format that could be used for like music CDs or other media that can be shared. At the same time, if you're wanting to find new music without raking out tons of money, this would work for some.

devHead said,
I think it's hard to believe that you could have such a service and be allowed to keep your music downloads on your device itself, in a format that could be used for like music CDs or other media that can be shared. At the same time, if you're wanting to find new music without raking out tons of money, this would work for some.

The service already exists. Its called Zune Pass! I knew Apple would push into this arena sooner or later.

NPGMBR said,

The service already exists. Its called Zune Pass! I knew Apple would push into this arena sooner or later.

Actually there is a difference. Zune pass allows u to do that but while u are paying the zune pass subscription. What Apple want to do is pay once download every time u want.

devHead said,
I think it's hard to believe that you could have such a service and be allowed to keep your music downloads on your device itself, in a format that could be used for like music CDs or other media that can be shared. At the same time, if you're wanting to find new music without raking out tons of money, this would work for some.

It doesn't mean download any play anything like Zune Pass. It simply lets you retrieve purchased items more conveniently. Zune already does this as well. There's an option to redownload old purchases. (It's not guaranteed to be available > 30 days. AFAIK Apple is the same currently.)

npierri said,

Actually there is a difference. Zune pass allows u to do that but while u are paying the zune pass subscription. What Apple want to do is pay once download every time u want.

However, there will likely be a restriction such as the license to download those tracks will live on Apple's servers. When you stop paying the tracks no longer work! Very similar in how Zune Pass works right or am I thinking of this from the wrong perspective?

From what I understand of this article, they want to allow you to be able to permanently download all of the music you have bought, rather than just once and never again (so if you lose it and you haven't backed up, it's gone).

I don't know what the other services allow, such as Amazon, but I think it is so stupid and clearly greedy of the music companies to only allow you to download once at that is it. If you've bought the song, you should be allowed to download it whenever you like.

No wonder people still pirate with problems like that (which is purely because the music companies are greedy and want to rake in more money I think!)

It should be like the app store, once I've bought an app, I can download it even after my iPhone has been wiped again and again. This seems a lot more fair to me!

Neobond said,
It should be like the app store, once I've bought an app, I can download it even after my iPhone has been wiped again and again. This seems a lot more fair to me!

Exactly! I really can't see any viable reason why they haven't offered something like this already, the only thing I can think of is the fact they'll get more money from people re-downloading their favourite song which they had forgot to burn to CD or whatever.

Fid said,

Exactly! I really can't see any viable reason why they haven't offered something like this already, the only thing I can think of is the fact they'll get more money from people re-downloading their favourite song which they had forgot to burn to CD or whatever.

I'm guessing the reason why this was not offered before is because Apple didn't want it. Keep in mind that for years now Apple has been saying "nobody wants to rent music". The music industry already offers a similary offering via Microsofts's Zune Pass so it is almost entirely Apples fault this is just now being offered.

NPGMBR said,

I'm guessing the reason why this was not offered before is because Apple didn't want it. Keep in mind that for years now Apple has been saying "nobody wants to rent music". The music industry already offers a similary offering via Microsofts's Zune Pass so it is almost entirely Apples fault this is just now being offered.

"An agreement would allow customers a permanent backup of purchased music as well as the ability to copy downloads to iPad, iPod and iPhone devices linked to the same iTunes account, meaning that damaged or lost purchases would be a thing of the past."

I mean't if you had bought the music... at the moment there is no way to re-download it if you have lost it for whatever reason, not had a backup or burnt it to CD for example. If this happened and you wanted the music again, you would have to buy the song again.

So really my point was not on having some unlimited subscription (where you are renting) but the ability to re-download the songs you have bought already!

Fid said,

Exactly! I really can't see any viable reason why they haven't offered something like this already,

I can think of one valid reason: bandwidth costs. The current price factors in the cost of the bandwidth that Apple has to use to send the file to you (I know it is minimal, but there is a cost). If they start allowing you to re-download the same file any time you want, anywhere you want, then the bandwidth costs go up substantially. Apple has for a long time fought efforts by the record labels to increase the per-song and per-album costs for music, so I can understand them wanting to keep the bandwidth costs as low as possible as well.

Neobond said,
It should be like the app store, once I've bought an app, I can download it even after my iPhone has been wiped again and again. This seems a lot more fair to me!

I agree. We already did this in the old days when purchasing CD's anyway. Buy once, use everywhere. I don't see why we shouldn't be allowed to do that now. I guess it's just the music industry that takes the chance with "ooh, digital media... now we can restrict this in ways we couldn't before!", and not because they *need* the added profits or anything.

Northgrove said,

I agree. We already did this in the old days when purchasing CD's anyway. Buy once, use everywhere. I don't see why we shouldn't be allowed to do that now.

You can already put your iTunes music purchases on up to 5 computers and as many iPods/iPads/iPhones as you want. Actually, you can put them on as many computers as you want as well, but you can only use the simultaneously on 5 machines. You just have to authorize/deauthorize the computers as you need them.

Fid said,

"An agreement would allow customers a permanent backup of purchased music as well as the ability to copy downloads to iPad, iPod and iPhone devices linked to the same iTunes account, meaning that damaged or lost purchases would be a thing of the past."

I mean't if you had bought the music... at the moment there is no way to re-download it if you have lost it for whatever reason, not had a backup or burnt it to CD for example. If this happened and you wanted the music again, you would have to buy the song again.

So really my point was not on having some unlimited subscription (where you are renting) but the ability to re-download the songs you have bought already!

Now that would be a great idea! Not sure if the Industry will go for it because they get a lot of cash from us when we switch from one format to another i.e. vynil, to digital. I had to re-purchase a lot of tracks I already owned that were on records but had no good convenient way of getting them into a clean digital format.

well that is until apple or the author decides to remove it from the store..then your up the creek without a paddle..unfortunatley the downfall for all digital content though

The Protagonist said,
they should have offered this since the launch of iTunes

Apple probably wanted to. The fact that they are having to negotiate with the record labels for this seems to imply that the labels are the ones fighting it.

Hmm this is interesting - ever since Apple raised the price of their new music downloads to $1.29 and services like Pandora and Grooveshark came out, I think people are less likely to pay for music unless they really love it. Still, I think this is a smart decision on Apple's part because it's definitely more convenient to have a back up of your library. I know that I wouldn't be happy about having to repurchase a track that I already bought when those free options are available.

"Apple negotiating unlimited music downloads for iTunes customers" Makes it sound like you can download unlimited music per month.

That should be "Apple negotiating unlimited re-downloading of music for iTunes customers"

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