Universal boss Doug Morris is reportedly planning to launch a new, label-owned subscription service called Total Music: give people free, unlimited music subscriptions with the purchase of portable devices. The plan is to have companies subsidize the cost of the subscriptions, estimated at five bucks a month. Wireless carriers could offer unlimited music on their cell phones, for instance, and simply build the cost into the monthly fee. Hardware makers who sell "Total Music"-branded devices could build the cost into the price. Hopefully, DRM will be excluded since labels should be getting their revenue through hardware sales. Universal is already experimenting with DRM-free MP3 downloads at stores like Amazon, so it's certainly possible. Currently, it's unclear if Total Music will allow consumers who don't buy the devices to subscribe to the service.
If the idea does take off though, maybe just maybe, iTunes and the iPod will finally have some competition.
News source: Ars Technica