We've heard the rumors of an iTunes subscription service before, but they've never materialized. It doesn't hurt that Steve Jobs has long been a vociferous opponent of rental music (paying one monthly fee for unlimited music downloads). When asked about it he recites his familiar mantra that "people want to own their music."
While I generally agree with him and prefer to own my music (preferably without DRM), times change and Apple needs to change with them. Jobs also dissed flash music players and PDAs for years too, and now look at them.
This latest iTunes subscription rumor comes from TUAW who received an email tip too juicy to pass up. According to the source:
...the late September Apple event would introduce several great items that we'd love to see but haven't been holding our breath for. These are disk access for the iPhone and iPod Touch and iTunes Unlimited.
The source also provided some details on pricing saying that iTunes Unlimited will cost US$129.99 per year or US$179.99 bundled with MobileMe. It will also be offered to current MobileMe subscribers for US$99. Naturally, you'd have to maintain an active account and connect your iPod regularly or risk having your music deactivated.
Subscription music isn't really for me, but judging by the success of Rhapsody and Napster, someone is buying it. Is it Apple's turn?