Apple in talks with Big Music on subs service

Once again the Internet is abuzz with speculation that Apple is about to launch a subscription-based music streaming service.

This time around it's the New York Times speculating that Apple's iTunes head honcho Eddy Cue (rockstar moniker if ever we've heard one) has been courting the music industry's leading lights with offers of an iTunes hook-up.

Perhaps Microsoft's announcement that it would partner with European streaming outfit Spotify - which offers a $10-a-month access-all-areas pass to its millions of tracks as well as an advertising-based free model - as part of the Windows Mobile 7 launch has fired Apple into action.

The Cupertino company is reported to have vigorously lobbied to keep Spotify out of the USA, no doubt keen to protect its digital download bottom line. Apple is, after all the biggest flogger of tuneage in the world.

Allowing European upstarts to enter America with their filthy communistic proposition of giving people free access to music is probably not part of Steve Jobs' master plan.

Big Music is said to be quite keen on subscription models for streaming music, but they're not likely to let Apple have it all their own way, and negotiations are likely to take some time.