It appears Apple will begin offering subscription fee-based podcasts through iTunes in early 2006.

The notion is implied within a press release from new firm What I Want Podcasting, which promises to offer podcasts for sale through iTunes "in the very near future". The company will offer live performance footage from the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival which takes place in late January 2006.

"We have developed exclusive video invitations from artists appearing at the festival and created a promotional podcast concert series. We then distributed it throughout the Web, on iTunes, podcast directories, Google Video, and many more websites." says Martin Elmore, president of What I Want Podcasting.

"In the very near future, we are going to offer podcasts for sale on iTunes, which will feature clips of the concert this January 26-28" he added.

At present Apple offers free podcasts through iTunes, but it already has a micropayments system in place which could support fee-based podcast distribution.