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Monday, July 18, 2005, 06:00 am PT (09:00 am ET)

iTunes to sell music videos?

Apple Computer recently held discussions with major recording companies, seeking to license music videos to sell through the company’s iTunes Music Store, according to a report in Monday’s edition of The Wall Street Journal.

The talks (subscription required) are rumored to be a prelude to a video-capable version of the iPod, which Apple has reportedly told some entertainment-industry executives to expect this fall.

According to the Journal, the music videos would likely cost $1.99 each on iTunes, with the possibility of a discount if consumers buy a music video and a song at the same time.

If successful, the initiative could create a significant new source of income for media companies that are rushing to distribute video content on the Internet to offset the growing magnitude of pirated media, the report says.

Companies involved in the talks reportedly include Warner Music Group, EMI Group, Vivendi Universal’s Universal Music Group and Sony BMG, a joint venture between Sony and Bertelsmann AG.

Following the release of its iTunes 4.8 digital music jukebox software in May, Apple began bundling a select batch of videos with some of the music albums available through its iTunes Music Store. Most of the videos were bundled with music tracks for an additional 99 cent premium.

Merrill Lynch analyst Steve Milunovich issued a report at the time saying support for digital music videos in iTunes could allow Apple to work with the music industry to deliver a profitable outlet for the clips.