Apple may be about to buy Swedish streaming music service Spotify according to a new report.

TechCrunch reports an anonymous tip that Apple is in take-over negotiations with Spotify, as part of prolonged on-again, off-again discussions.

A similar deal that would have seen Google buy Spotify, around the time Apple acquired music service Lala last year, reportedly fell through over label deals Spotify had already made with record companies.

TechCrunch believes such deals, which Spotify already has in place, makes the company difficult to sell to potential suitors.

"So if a company like Spotify gets great label deals, like they have in Europe, those deals have to be completely renegotiated if they’re acquired. It ends up making these companies largely un-buyable," writes TechCrunch's Michael Arrington.

Despite a strong standing in Europe, including the UK, Spotify has yet to make any impact in the US. Spotify currently offers a mix of free and paid streaming music services including an iPhone application.

Spotify

Apple is known to have money to spend. Last week Apple reported revenue of $20.34 (£12.82) billion for the quarter that ended on 25 September, up from the $12.21 (£7.7) billion in revenue during the fourth quarter last year. The consensus expectation from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was of $18.9 (£11.91) billion.

Apple expects revenue of about $23 (£14.5) billion during the first fiscal quarter of 2011 driven by strong iPad and iPhone sales.