Apple's iTunes Store may soon offer unlimited downloads of your music purchases to any device you own, according to rumours. Apple is reportedly in talks with Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music Group and EMI to make this a reality, according to three people with "knowledge of the plans" who spoke to Bloomberg. The new plan could be available before the end of the summer.
The move to offer unlimited downloads would be more in line with Apple's traditional belief that users prefer to download and own music rather than subscribe to unlimited streaming services such as Rhapsody or Spotify in Europe. The rumored scheme is also similar to Apple's current policies for the iOS App Store and new Mac App Store where you can buy a program once and redownload it to any device you own.
As another added benefit, unlimited purchases of iTunes music downloads would offer an online back-up of your music collection; however, as Google's recent Gmail outage proved, you still need to maintain a local back-up of your own files.
Will The Record Companies Go Along?
The big question is what kind of incentives Apple could offer the major recording labels to go ahead with the company's scheme. The music labels have been wary of Apple in the past, and may be reluctant to give up even more control of their product to consumers. Would the music labels, for example, require a premium price for a pay-once, download everywhere service? The labels did something similar when Apple began offering DRM-free music in 2009, requiring as much as a 30-cent premium to strip many popular songs of DRM.
Nevertheless, if Apple manages to get the labels to go along with the rumoured unlimited downloads; it would be a boon for iTunes users. And you have to wonder if both music and apps become redownloadable via iTunes, can video be far behind?