Apple, music labels discuss subscriptions

Partners consider unlimited song access for monthly fee

Apple is talking with the major music labels about an iTunes subscription music service that would allow consumers unlimited access to songs for a monthly fee starting at around $10, The New York Post reported Friday.

The technology giant and music companies have talked about new ways of packaging digital music, including subscription offers, for years. Music labels are interested in optimizing revenue streams.

A music executive told the Post that the labels believe that subscriptions could re-energize digital music sales. While album downloads have been on the rise, single track sales were flat in the first half of 2010 compared to the previous year.

One source told the Post that a subscription service could have tiered pricing ranging from $10 to $15. One key question is how much music would be included in each tier and how long consumers would be able to access it.