According to the New York Post, Apple is gearing up to start a subscription-based music service which would run users $10-15 per month – an alternative to the current $.99 per song option. With a subscription service, users would only get to keep the content for as long as they pay the monthly fee, so it’s definitely not for everyone.
One source said the service could have tiered pricing ranging from $10 to $15, although there are issues to be ironed out, including how much music would be included in each tier and how long consumers would be able to access that content.
There have also been rumors that Microsoft will integrate Spotify, a European-only (at the moment) streaming-music service that has been a huge success, into Windows Phone 7. Spotify has been trying to get US approval for months, but is being held up by record labels who don’t agree with the terms. Apparently, Apple has also been leveraging it’s weight with the music industry to block Spotify in the states. If Spotify is successfully barred from the US, it would give iTunes a leading edge in the streaming media space.
This would coincide with the reports of Apple building a datacenter in North Carolina, and considering that Apple has already moved from local to streaming video content, a cloud-based iTunes service is very likely.