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Apple is ramping up its competition with Radio

From the Financial Times:

Apple is in discussions with the big music companies about a radical new business model that would give customers free access to its entire iTunes music library in exchange for paying a premium for its iPod and iPhone devices. The “all you can eat” model, a replica of Nokia’s “comes with music” deal with Universal Music last December, could provide the struggling recorded music industry with a much-needed fillip, and drive demand for a new generation of Apple’s hardware.
The iPod has effectively become the most ubiquitous portable music device on earth. It has already surpassed the fabled Sony Walkman line of cassette and CD players in sheer volume sold. Furthermore, it behooves us to remind ourselves that Apple’s iTunes sales figures, which have been analyzed frequently by numerous third parties, has only shown an average customer of the iTunes music store to have purchased music downloads that amount to the equivalent of roughly one album’s worth of material, give or take a few tracks. That fact surely must weigh greatly in the discussions currently underway between Apple and any and all large record companies.

If, in fact, this goes down, iPod owners – who have always shown a willingness to meet Apple’s hardware price, no matter what it is – will have one-click access to almost every song they could ever want – for free.

What do you call an infinite supply of your favorite music rotating in playlists for free?

I call it “radio.”

Already, of course, P2P distribution provides tons of “free” music. But the iTunes platform makes all this easy.

And as anyone who has ever visited a buffet knows, when it’s one price for “all you can eat,” you always eat more.

And from what medium do you think that listening is going to come?

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