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Friday, October 08, 2010, 05:00 am PT (08:00 am ET)

Apple again pushes iTunes subscriptions, attempts to block Spotify

Apple is said to again be talking with major music labels about offering a subscription music service for a monthly fee, while the company is also reportedly attempting to prevent the launch of streaming service Spotify in the U.S.

According to the New York Post, Apple is again in talks with major record labels about a service that would allow unlimited access to iTunes music for a monthly fee. It was said that iTunes boss Eddy Cue was personally calling labels in recent weeks, trying to push a deal forward.

"One source said the service could have tiered pricing ranging from $10 to $15, although there are issues to be ironed out, including how much music would be included in each tier and how long customers would be able to access that content," author Claire Atkinson wrote.

Unlike in the past, when the labels have outright rejected Apple's offer, it is said that executives in the music industry are "supportive of the idea and believe it could re-energize digital music sales."

Music executives are also looking to the U.S. launch of European streaming music service Spotify, but another report from CNet claims that Apple has said to the record labels it fears the launch of Spotify could reduce album sales.

"In meetings in Los Angeles recently, Apple executives told their music industry counterparts that they had serious doubts about whether Spotify's business model could ever generate significant revenues or profits, according to two sources with knowledge of the discussions," the report said.

Apple's position is said to be that it's tough to sell something that's given away by someone else. Author Greg Sandoval also said that Apple is working on a cloud-based music service that could be tied in to a subscription plan.

Spotify has been pushing hard for a 2010 launch of its service in the U.S., but its ability to arrive stateside depends on deals with record labels. Music sales have been flat in 2010, and executives are concerned that a Spotify launch may only compound the issue.

Rumors of a cloud-based iTunes streaming service have existed for some time, and reports have indicated that Apple has long pushed for one, but lacks the necessary agreements to launch it. Evidence of Apple's future plans came with the company's late-2009 purchase of streaming music service Lala.