Two music executives tell BusinessWeek Online that Apple began asking questions about the subscription model earlier this summer, soon after Internet giant Yahoo (YHOO ) unveiled a subscription service called Music Unlimited in early May.
While Apple told those music-industry execs that it had no concrete plans at the time, it expressed interest in the strategy of potential new entrants, such as e-tailer Amazon.com (AMZN ) and search powerhouse Google (GOOG ). According to the sources, it was the first time Apple staffers asked so many questions about the subscription model.
That doesn’t mean Apple is considering a move into this segment of the market. Indeed, says one of the sources, Apple would likely consider such a move only if one of its rivals began to make serious inroads into its market dominance.
I’ve said it before (and I’ll say it again) – there would be no harm to Apple’s business model if it adopted a subscription service in addition to its current sales model. Both can peacefully co-exist, and appeal to different sorts of users.